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Jim Fitzpatrick addresses the anti-education cuts meeting in Christchurch on the Isle of Dogs.
Jim Fitzpatrick addresses the anti-education cuts meeting in Christchurch on the Isle of Dogs.

Jim pledges support for anti-education cuts campaign

JIM FITZPATRICK has pledged to help a local campaign which is trying to stop government funding of Tower Hamlets schools being slashed.

The outgoing MP, who is Labour’s candidate for Poplar & Limehouse in the coming General Election, was speaking this week to a public meeting on the Isle of Dogs – called by local teachers and headteachers in an attempt to warn parents and the general public what is at stake.

Theresa May’s Government had been planning to allocate school funding from this September via a new formula – which would have seen money taken away from schools in needy areas and shared back out to wealthier parts of the country. Early indications are that Tower Hamlets schools would lose 13% of their income – at a time when costs are actually going up.

Teacher after teacher at the meeting said that a funding loss on this scale would be catastrophic. Schools would have to cut back on the number of teachers they employed – leading to classes getting bigger and fewer subjects being offered. It seemed very unlikely that exam results would stay at the current high level if the cuts went through.

Cllr Rachael Saunders (standing, right) also spoke to the meeting.

Cllr Rachael Saunders (standing, right) also spoke to the meeting.

Cllr Rachael Saunders, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, also spoke and gave her support to the campaign. She pointed out that the council had passed a motion opposing the government change to the Education Funding Formula – which had been supported by all councillors except those from the Conservative Party. She suggested residents take this matter up with their local councillors.

Speakers referred members of the audience to the School Cuts website (see below) which is sponsored by the various teaching unions. The site has calculated that under government changes to the funding formula schools will lose £3 billion a year in real terms by 2020. The site allows viewers to search for an individual school and see the likely funding cut and is running a petition.

Those who organised the meeting hoped that parents would take a lead and organise a campaign committee in each school on the Island and in Tower Hamlets to educate parents and the public about the nature of the proposed cuts. It could sometimes be difficult for staff to be seen doing this – but parents had a freer hand to campaign.

There will be a number of rallies and protests happening around the country on 24th May under the heading “The Big School Assembly”. In Tower Hamlets, there will be an event at 4.30pm on Copperfield Road E3 4PR (part of Mile End Park, opposite the Ragged School Museum).

Read our story on the proposed Education Funding Formula cuts:
http://eastlondonnews.co.uk/schools-face-funding-crisis/

To find out more about the education cuts, go to:
https://www.schoolcuts.org.uk

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