Hackney school funding: Teachers and parents hail government U-turn as victory – but say fight isn’t over
- Credit: Archant
Despite championing the efforts of teachers and parents in rallying against school funding cuts, Hackney’s boss of children’s services has called on the government to shed more light on its education funding policy.
On Monday education secretary Justine Greening pledged to give schools in England an extra £1.3bn over the next two years in an effort to “raise standards, promote social mobility and give every child the best possible education”.
Although several campaign groups have welcomed the news, doubts remain over the fact that the extra funding will be taken from elsewhere in the school budget, with free schools likely to be hit hardest.
Ms Greening’s announcement in the House of Commons came the day after Hackney families descended on Parliament Square as part of a national “picnic protest” against the funding shortage.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the extra money is more generous than promised in the Conservative manifesto in the run up to the General Election and will freeze average school budgets over the next two years.
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Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, who was a prominent figure at the front of Sunday’s protest procession, said: “We’ve been calling on the government to reverse the damaging funding formula proposals ever since they were published at the end of last year, so we cautiously welcome the announcement that they’ve finally listened to the thousands of Hackney parents and schools staff who have done a brilliant job of making their voices heard.
“This may be badged up as extra funding but it isn’t. It’s taken from existing education budgets, and we urge Ms Greening to share full details of how this will work and what the impact on education in Hackney will be.”
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Heads and governors from 50 Hackney schools had signed a letter to Ms Greening on Friday, urging her to halt cuts and clarify the government’s position.
Cllr Bramble added: “This shows how concerned those on the front line, teaching our children, are about the future funding of our schools.
“It’s important they know where they stand as soon as possible and we will continue to press for fair funding for our schools until we have a guarantee Hackney will not be unfairly affected by future proposals.”