Open meeting for school funding

20th September 2018

Anne Main joined parents, teachers and school governors to discuss school funding at the ‘Fair Funding for All Schools’ open meeting earlier this week. Councillors also attended the event and Anne addressed the audience directly.

Anne said, “I recognise that the education budget needs additional funding as the burdens faced by schools and teachers are mounting. We have this unsustainable strain on schools because we are not spending our money appropriately. I want to make it clear that I am not advocating to raise taxes, I think we need to look very carefully at what we spend and see if it could be better spent in the education budget. Very thoughtful comments were made that evening and the allocation of funds is an area we need to explore.”

Parents spoke of their frustration that children with learning disabilities are not getting the right resources. Anne shared their dismay saying “I am disappointed at the unfair allocation of funding for special education needs. I had visited a school earlier that day where they described how extra funds for children are distributed like the lottery. This cannot remain the case.”

The audience made very valid points about the pressures schools are currently facing and Anne will be raising these points in Parliament. Anne made it clear that whilst she supports more funding for schools, she does not agree that this should be done by raising taxes. Anne made the point that free school meals, especially in an area such as St Albans, are cross-subsidising well off parents and this is not the best way to allocate funding.

Mrs Main added, “as a former teacher, I have a lot of sympathy. Our schools and teachers do an excellent job but that does not mean that there aren’t very real pressures on our education system.

“I will be making the case in Parliament and I will endeavour to host a debate or further, raise these points during the budget speeches this Autumn. I will certainly bring this to the attention of the Minister of State for Schools.  I recognise that schools are struggling and I am listening.

“We cannot and must not ignore the problems. This is a country wide issue and I will be debating the matter. I have given my word.”

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