In my Wirral News column last week, I wrote about the crisis facing secondary schools across Wirral.
Our local schools are facing extreme budget pressures as a result of the Government’s failure to plan for increasing the school leaving age to 18.
Schools across the area are starting to make cut backs, which is already having a major impact on the education of local young people. Last week, Kingsway Academy announced its decision to close its sixth form and students there have been asked to find alternative arrangements from September. There is real worry that some will no longer be able to continue with their preferred courses.
Kingsway Academy is not alone; following meetings with head teachers I discovered that nineteen out of twenty-one of our local secondary schools are facing real financial strain over the next two years.
I said last week that this is just the tip of the iceberg and following the unraveling of the Tories’ education plans this week, we now know things could be about to get even worse.
Despite promising to protect schools funding, David Cameron has admitted that the Tories will effectively slash spending if they win the general election. He said that the amount of cash per child would not go up by inflation.
The Prime Minister’s empty promise comes on top of a freeze after the 2010 election, meaning pupil funding will not have risen for a whole decade by the end of the next parliament in 2020, if the Tories win in May.
So Tory claims on protecting schools won’t wash, especially here in Wirral. Labour has always prioritised schools and while we get to work on getting the economy back on track, we will also ensure that every child has the best possible education with the best opportunities too. A vote for the Tories in May will just lead to more uncertainty and worry for local schools.