Parents step up fight against ‘under-funding’ of schools

“School funding is being cut and it’s our children who are paying the price.”

That’s the message from Save Our Schools campaigners who unfurled a giant banner in a stand against cuts to school budgets on Brighton beach this afternoon (March 22).

Campaigner Alison Ali with her two children and their friends, in front of the banner which was held up by protesters at Brighton beach yesterday

Campaigner Alison Ali with her two children and their friends, in front of the banner which was held up by protesters at Brighton beach yesterday

Alison Ali, mum-of-two and one of the founders of the parent-led campaign Save Our Schools, explained the impact of funding cuts on local schools.

She said: “There are some schools consulting on four-and-a-half day weeks, teaching assistants are being axed, qualified teaching hours are being cut and that affects all our children, particularly children with special educational needs.

“Buildings are crumbling, and there is a normalisation of parents being asking for donations.”

Research by the campaigners which surveyed 50 schools in Brighton and Hove found that 94 per cent of schools had already felt the impact of cuts and 98 per cent expect long-term negative impacts.

Save Our Schools campaigners on the beach with their giant banner

Save Our Schools campaigners on the beach with their giant banner

It also said 88 per cent of the schools had cut staff and 66 per cent had lost teaching assistants, with 40 per cent having lost inclusion or special needs staff.

And 94 per cent had cut equipment such as books, software and computers, and 64 per cent have had to cancel building works and repairs.

In a day of action yesterday banners went up outside dozens of schools in the city, before the grand unveiling of the giant banner in the afternoon.

Ms Ali said: “Today is about parents and teachers standing side by side to protest the Government’s continued under-funding of schools. A day of solidarity both with our teachers and Save Our Schools groups across the country.

“It is brilliant to see the banners going up around Brighton and Hove.”

The banners could be seen outside St Bernadette’s, Stanford Infants, Rudyard Kipling, Downs Infants, St Nicolas Primary and many more schools.

The day of action by the Save Our Schools campaign involved not just parents, but teachers and headteachers and other school staff.

The parent-led campaign launched in March last year to oppose austerity measures which it said would cut millions from Brighton and Hove’s school budget. It has since campaigned for more school funding, with trips to Parliament and events such as the ‘arms around our schools’ day, where parents surrounded their schools in a symbolic act of protection.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, showed her support on Twitter, and said: “Great to see brilliant @SaveSchoolsUK making noise about funding crisis in our schools. Need to be urgently addressed by the government – who appear to have their head in the sand.”

To find out more about the Save Our Schools campaign, follow @SaveSchoolsUK on Twitter.