A teachers’ union has accused an MP of giving “false hope” to Croydon teachers, parents and pupils over Tory cuts to schools funding, and told him to lobby his government for real-terms increases in the amounts allocated for education in the borough.
Many schools in Croydon, at primary and secondary level, face cuts in their budgets that could see them having to cut between six and 10 teaching posts over the next two years. That will lead to bigger class sizes and some subjects dropped from the curriculum.
But Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, has claimed that a recent announcement by his government’s education secretary, Justine Greening, of £1.3 billion of extra funding for schools and the introduction of the “National Funding Formula” would “fix” the underfunding in Croydon schools, including three large secondaries in his constituency, Riddlesdown, Oasis Coulsdon and Woodcote High.
“Croydon has been historically underfunded relative to other areas,” Philp admitted in a recent round-robin to his constituents, “and the new Funding Formula fixes this.”
Philp also went on record as saying, “The extra £1.3billion will mean no school anywhere suffers a cut under the new formula.”
Yet according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies’, even with Greening’s additional pot of money (surprisingly discovered by the Tories after the General Election), funding for schools in England will have fallen by nearly 5 per cent by 2019.
And the National Union of Teachers say that there’s no way that Philp, in a circular dated July 24, could possibly know what the figures are for schools in Croydon South, because the Department for Education is withholding the final school funding formula until September.
“Justine Greening’s announcement on school funding simply does not provide a guarantee for Croydon schools’ funding in the way that Chris Philp MP is claiming,” according to Martin Powell-Davies, the London regional secretary of the NUT.
“The DfE is withholding the final school funding formula until September. Therefore it is impossible for Mr Philp to say with any certainty what the real impact of the latest announcements will be on any particular school.
“The real problem is that there simply isn’t enough funding being given to schools overall to stop school cuts,” Powell-Davies told Inside Croydon.
“No funding formula can divide the overall cake up fairly if the cake is still too small in the first place.
“The extra money pledged by Justine Greening goes nowhere near what is required to protect schools from cuts.
“The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies’ analysis shows that all it means is that, between 2015 and 2019, real terms funding for schools in England will have fallen by 4.6 per cent instead of 6.5 per cent as was previously forecast.
“That still means rising class sizes, fewer teachers and support staff and worse provision for school students.
“That’s why the campaign against school cuts will continue to grow. Mr Philp needs to recognise the strength of feeling on the issue and to urge the government to really stop school cuts instead of hiding behind ‘smoke and mirrors’ claims which will only give false hope to local parents and schools,” Powell-Davies said.
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