This education budget represents failed policy of the past. I spoke yesterday in the house about the threats that these proposed budgets will have to social mobility within our children. Despite considerable opposition from their own backbenches, the Tory government is pushing through this budget for their own ideological interests, not for the children of Gedling, Nottinghamshire or the UK.
The suggestion that £320 million will create 140 schools, providing 70,000 school places. Is farcical. Figures from the National Audit Office show that, given the average cost of creating a place in a free school, the Government will unlikely to create even a fifth of the spaces they have promised.
Grammar Schools do not improve social mobility. Government figures released last week reveal that just 2.6% of grammar school pupils were eligible for free school meals compared with 11.6% of secondary modern pupils and 14.1% of pupils across all secondary schools. Changes to the school’s system need to be evidenced based – all evidence points to the fact that grammar schools will only benefit the elite.
All children should have the opportunity to receive a strong education, not solely those with academic ability.I spoke yesterday of how the Government needs to address this cultural problem of favouring academia over all other occupations and vocations. I believe this undervaluing to be a critical issue in our nation. If we only judge the merit of a school by its academic grades, then how do we ensure that those who excel in more vocational tasks do not slip through the cracks in the system?
So, what are the specific facts and figures for Nottinghamshire and Gedling?
These figures show the total estimated reduction across all schools in Nottinghamshire in real terms by 2020, under current Government policies. These include plans to reallocate school budgets according to a new national funding formula, and not increasing funding per pupil in line with inflation.
-£384 per pupil: there are 102,980 pupils in Nottinghamshire according to the school census.
-1061 teachers: the equivalent number of teachers that would be lost, based on the average teacher's salary of £37,250.
Estimated Total Budget Cut - -£39,544,320
These figures show the total estimated reduction in real terms by 2020, under current Government policies.
Teachers/ Teaching Assistants to reduce = -139
98% of Schools will have per-pupil funding cut
Average cut to primary schools = -£87,117
Average cut to secondary schools = -£405,611
Average loss per primary pupil = -£339
Average loss per secondary pupil = -£477
Estimated Total Budget Cut - -£5,626,647
I truly believe we need to put all our efforts in to work to improve the schools we have. The £216 million put aside for school development might sound helpful at first, but in reality it is a fraction of the £6.3 billion that the National Audit Office says would be necessary simply to ensure that all existing school buildings are at least satisfactory!
I will continue to speak up about this cause, and work to change these archaic budgets that reflect a Britain of the past in order to ensure that the schools and future of the children in Gedling do not suffer from them, and that every child can fulfil their potential.