Schools need another u-turn
Every parent wants the best start in life for their child, which is why schools are so important.
In North Tyneside a remarkable 95 per cent of our children attend a Good or Outstanding Ofsted-rated school, which is a higher proportion than any local authority outside London.
That success is due to the hard work of students and staff, but also because of the support from parents and the local authority.
There’s growing concern, however, that cuts to school funding around the country will leave our schools struggling for resources.
Spending per pupil in North Tyneside is already projected to be £1,500 less than the average London borough by 2017-18, suggesting where the government’s priorities lie.
However, further changes to the National Fair Funding Formula are set to take another 2.7 per cent from school budgets.
And that’s before schools have to pay the cost of staff pay rises, pensions and NIC changes.
For schools with big sixth forms it is going to be even worse, as they struggle to cope with the cuts to Post 16 funding.
These budget cuts will mean fewer staff in schools, less money for building maintenance, or a reduced curriculum – or, most likely, all of these things.
North east schools would need £323m just to match London levels, yet the Chancellor has set aside £360m for unnecessary grammar or free schools.
I’ve already raised my concerns with government ministers and will be meeting local headteachers to see what more can be done.
The government has already u-turned over changes to National Insurance and it needs to do so again before our children’s futures are damaged.