A parent-led campaign fighting cuts to school funding has launched a city-wide call out to teachers and parents to share their stories on ‘the true cost of underfunding’.
This comes as financial pressures at Moulsecoomb Primary School could see it cut 11 support staff posts.
Save our Schools Brighton and Hove (SOS) launched last year to protest £2.8 billion of cuts to UK schools since 2015. It has led a series of campaigns including banners outside the city’s schools detailing cuts in funding, taking Brighton schoolchildren to Downing Street alongside actor Steve Coogan, and placing 3D projections onto Government buildings on the eve on the 2017 budget.
The latest #CutsTheRealStories campaign comes as SOS said teachers are caught in a Catch 22 situation when faced with speaking out or staying quiet about the state of their schools as a result of cuts.
Catherine Fisher, a founding member of Save Our Schools Brighton and Hove, said: “Last year we carried out a survey of 50 schools across Brighton and Hove to find out how they were coping with the cuts. Of those who took part, 88 per cent told us they had been forced to cut staff, two thirds have cancelled building work and repairs, 94 per cent have cut equipment, 40 per cent have cut mental health support and 78 per cent expect the cuts to lead to poorer results.
“It’s a very sorry picture and it’s not over yet: a massive 92 per cent are considering what cuts they will have to make next.”
She said the findings ‘completely contradicted Government rhetoric claiming that schools were better funded than ever’.
“Many schools are afraid to speak out publicly about what they are being forced to cut, not wishing to alarm parents and children and for fear of being singled out as a ‘poor performing school’,” said Ms Fisher. “This fear is particularly acute for headteachers at undersubscribed schools who – due in part to the pupil-linked funding system – are facing extreme financial challenges when many of them should be getting extra support.
“The only way the Government will acknowledge the extent of the crisis is by schools, parents and pupils speaking out and sharing the stories that the Government doesn’t want us to hear.”
One Brighton and Hove headteacher, who preferred to remain anonymous, told SOS: “I am caught between a rock and a hard place. If I speak out about the cuts to staff and curriculum I am being forced to make, I draw negative attention to the school. If I say nothing, how will people ever know how serious the situation is right now? What I do know is that – whether I speak up or not – the cuts will continue and the children lose out.”
To find out more about the #CutsTheRealStories campaign, follow the hashtag on social media or visit: www.saveourschools.uk