Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has spoken out against the government’s education cuts, which are reported to already be impacting the city’s schools and their pupils.
In the House of Commons this week, Wera Hobhouse took the Minister of State for School Standards, the Rt Hon Nick Gibb to task.
“Although time is short, may I, Mr Speaker, wish good luck to all young people who are starting their SATs and GCSEs this week,” she said.
“The government claims it has increased funding per pupil in my constituency in Bath. Does the increase take account of inflation and national increases of pay for staff?.”
The Rt Hon Nick Gibb responded: “As my right honorable friend has said, we are spending record amounts on school funding; £42.4 bn this year rising to £43.5 bn next year.
“We also do recognise that there have been cost pressures on schools and that’s why we have a range of help and advice to schools in how to deal with those cost pressures, such as national buying schemes for energy, national buying schemes for computers and other equipment to help schools manage their budgets at a time when they are having to do so.”
Wera commented afterwards: “Schools in Bath are facing real term cuts, and difficult decisions over staffing and support for students.
“The government seems to think that advice on energy bills and computers is a good enough response to their funding crisis.
“Don’t they care about our children and the damaging impact school funding cuts are having on their lives? They need to come up with genuine solutions to the challenges teachers are facing.”
Twerton Infant School and Nursery Headteacher George Samios highlighted the issues faced in a recent post on Twitter. He said: “I’ve spent a good proportion of today with my Business Manager looking at how we can make savings/cuts of over £70k. Slightly more than our energy bills!”
In Bath & NE Somerset, schools are set to lose over £1.5 million when compared to funding levels with 2015/16 as a result of the government’s funding squeeze.
In some schools, these cuts are already having an impact. They mean less subject choice, bigger classes, and growing pupil numbers with fewer teachers and teaching assistance to support them.