St Albans group calls for more money for schools in November Budget
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St Albans MP Anne Main has written to the Chancellor ahead of next week’s Budget following calls for more money for the city’s schools.
Concerned parents from recently-formed pressure group Fair Funding For All Schools St Albans (FFAS) have been lobbying the government on schools’ behalf.
In response to their campaign, Mrs Main told Philip Hammond: “Our schools in St Albans perform extremely well, and above the national average. However parents are concerned funding pressures will impact standards in our schools.”
Parents claims schools will see a real terms cut of 4.6 per cent between 2015 and 2019 at the current level of funding.
Chair of FFAS St Albans Diane Secker said: “It is great Anne Main acted so quickly, raising local concerns about school funding, but we felt her response, while supportive, was too cautious. We’re asking local parents to keep writing to Anne Main, encouraging her to support the campaign.
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“Every day schools are being asked to do more with less and the cracks are beginning to show, as evidenced by letters to parents asking for money, increased class sizes, fewer staff, and fewer subjects.”
The group is asking the Chancellor to protect the per pupil premium in real terms.
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Mrs Main said: “I had a good conversation with parents in Parliament.
“Some schools in St Albans have benefited while others haven’t. As a former teacher I understand the concerns and the issues that have been raised with me by FFAS and local heads, such as absorbing pension costs, the living wage, and national insurance contributions. I have written to the Chancellor, raising some of the specific concerns.
“It is important to remember, however, while schools are under pressure, standards have risen. Government still has to manage the public finances.
“Both our deficit and debt interest payments alone are bigger than our schools budget. While the government has prioritised spending on education and health, population growth will continue to mean finances remain tight. These are the difficult issues that government has to grapple with.
“I will of course always continue to ensure that when local parents speak their voice is heard by ministers.”