Sue this week joined education union representatives at a lobby of Parliament, to call on the Government to ensure that all schools receive the level of funding that they desperately need in order to provide a first class education to every child.
The lobby of Parliament comes several weeks after more than 70 Cumbrian school leaders wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, calling on him to end the school funding crisis with an intervention in his upcoming Budget.
“It’s clear that the Tories are failing to invest in our children’s futures. They have slashed school budgets, overseen a crisis in teacher numbers and not delivered enough school places. In contrast, Labour will ensure that all children receive the high quality education they deserve and build a National Education Service available to everyone.
“The Tories are failing to deliver on the basics in education and harming standards by creating serious problems in our schools. There are chronic shortages of teachers in Cumbria, after years of missed Government targets for recruiting new trainees and demoralising the profession. The number of teachers quitting is now at a record high.
“Class sizes are soaring as there are not enough good school places. The severity of Tory cuts mean there are over half a million primary-age children now in large classes over 30, with around 40,000 pupils being taught in classes of 36 or more. Meanwhile, the Tories waste millions on Free Schools in areas where there are no shortages of school places.
“School budgets are seeing cuts for the first time in twenty years. Extra funding committed by the Conservatives will not stop the cuts to budgets which the Institute of Fiscal Studies has said will mean a 4.6 per cent cut between 2015 and 2018. Cuts have starved schools to such an extent that they have been driven to ask for donations from parents to pay for books.
“Only a Labour government will build a fairer Britain where no child is left behind. We will stop the cuts to school budgets with a real terms increase in funding. We will introduce universal free school meals for primary school children and get class sizes down to under 30 for all 5, 6 and 7 year olds. And crucially, we will focus on what matters most in our schools: driving up the quality of teaching in classrooms.”