Campaigning children off to Parliament
Twelve Brighton & Hove youngsters are heading to the Houses of Parliament to talk to their MPs about school funding.
The children - who were among hundreds who designed their own posters for the parent-led Save Our Schools campaign - will have tea and cake today (October 30) with Caroline Lucas, Peter Kyle and Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
Joshim Rahman Fry, 12, who attends the Dorothy Stringer school, Brighton, said: “Save Our Schools is a good campaign because it tells us what’s happening to our schools and shows us why politics is important.
"I’m really excited about meeting Caroline Lucas at the Houses of Parliament, to see where all the debating happens and where all the decisions are made.”
A spokesman for Save Our Schools said the visit would help to “raise awareness of the continuing education funding crisis and demonstrate city-wide cross-party support for Brighton & Hove’s struggling schools”.
It comes hot on the heels of last week's Rally Against School Cuts, which saw around 1,000 parents and teachers gather at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, to ask MPs to demand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledge more funding for schools in his November 22 Budget statement.
Among the parents was Save Our Schools campaigner Alison Ali, who joined shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable in addressing the meeting, encouraging peopel to continue the fight for more funding.
Alison said: “For our society to function well, we need our government to see the value in investing in, not slashing funds from, education.
“We need our government to see value not in the stream of half-lies and smoke and mirrors announcements we’ve been subjected to, but in listening to our teachers, who have been telling them for years that the funding cuts to education are damaging our schools, our children and our future.”
Mum-of-two Gemma Haley added: "Right now, inadequate funding is bringing schools to their knees: fewer qualified teachers, the loss of valuable teaching assistants and support staff, soaring class sizes, a back to Victorian basics curriculum, teachers bringing in paper and glue – it’s a very real crisis.
"We remain united in our message: we will not stand by and watch this happen to our children.”