As you go through life, your priorities and agendas tend to change. Hopefully your core values and fundamental principles (like not being an utter bastard) will always ring true. But the specifics of what matter to you and what motivates you politically may change throughout your lifetime. Where as ten years ago a tax on fags or a cut on University grants would have had my ears pricking up, these days and particularly with this General Election my attention has been largely focused towards issues and policies effecting family life.
The biggest shocker of all in recent weeks for me was the Conservative Manifesto and their ‘commitment’ to public school funding. They’ve promised to redirect an additional £1bn each year to state schools.
Sounds fab doesn’t it?
Trouble is, it’s amazing how you can say something, dress it up all fancy like, get your rich mates to repeat it through their vast media outlets and sell it like a gift from the Gods. When in reality if you just do a little GCSE level maths it turns out, it’s not that great after all.
In fact it turns out, it’s a bit of a shit idea and no one in their right mind would ever go for it.
So where’s the £1bn coming from anyway?
All this lovely extra money isn’t a little present to benefit the greater good. It’s not coming out of some rich dudes pockets or a couple of MP’s expenses accounts. It’s not coming from Starbucks or Rupert Murdoch or from anyone who could spare it.
No, its actually coming from the little kiddies themselves! The Conservatives are going to slash the free school dinners for infant school children in order to bank roll the extra school funding. So ‘ordinary’ families, the everyday ones like you and me -just going to work, paying our taxes, sending our kids to state schools will effectively be – indirectly paying the bill for the additional school funding. It has been estimated that this could cost each family as much as £440 a year, for each child.
Hey come on you guys! Don’t be unreasonable here! Theresa has already explained that there’s “no magic money tree“!
Ok so let’s just say for arguments sake then that we’re actually all ok to stop feeding the five year olds lunch. Let’s just play a bit of devils advocate here and just tell them all to eat a big breakfast before they get to school each morning. Let’s just say the £1bn will be totally worth it and the education they will now start receiving will knock their bloody socks off and we’ll all be raising astronauts and physicists within a generation.
Let’s just say, it’s all in the Manifesto, it’s all worked out – they know what they are doing. Don’t worry about it you guys. Just think about the £1bn, it’s such a catchy number, it’s so precise! Repeat after me “strong and stable government, strong and stable government”.
The problem is, some educated humans (The Institute for Fiscal Studies) who can actually work this stuff out – did and they say that school funding is still going to drop by 3% by 2021. This would result in an £8.9 billion real terms cut, even when you chuck this extra £1bn in there.
Why? Well cos of stupid stuff like inflation and population growth, you know that stuff!
Ugh, its so easy to forget about that stuff!
The National Union Of Teachers are so utterly pissed about this, that they’ve made a video to make it as plain as mud as to what this will actually mean for us all.
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This election has to be in part a Vote for Education and candidates should be held to account for their parties’ manifesto promises on school funding. Every parent, teacher and school staff member knows the debilitating effect a chronic lack of money has for the quality and type of education schools can give to children and young people.”
”Without sufficient funds schools will be forced to drop subjects from the curriculum, increase class sizes or cut staff numbers. Buildings are going un-repaired and begging letters to parents for money are all too common practice. We must do better.”
But anyway don’t lose your mind just yet because there is some good news!
You don’t actually have to put up with this twaffle! You don’t actually have to vote Conservative! Lo and behold there is a General Election on Thursday (8th June 2017) and you can get yourselves a brand new spanking Government!
One that wont take food from your children’s mouths and sack their favourite teachers.
- The Labour manifesto commitment will mean £4.8bn funding for schools. This would protect school funding in real terms per pupil, protecting schools against inflation.
- The Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment will mean £2.2bn funding for schools. This would give protection on 2017/18 funding levels, and would ensure that schools won’t lose in cash terms through the introduction of the National Funding Formula.
Look it can be hard to put all this information into perspective and relate it back to your own situation. I mean what the hell are they all jammering on about it?
But to see how school budget cuts could affect you, your kids and your community – just visit this website and pop in your postcode. In two seconds you will see how under each Party’s Manifesto your local school will fair. In very simple terms, how their budget will be effected and how many teachers they may lose or gain.
For the school my son will be starting in September, they only benefit under a Labour Government. It’s as black and white as that. What’s the situation in your area?
*this post was written in association with the NUT and SchoolCuts website, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own*