Parents rise up to battle school funding cuts

June 02 2017

HUNDREDS of South Gloucestershire parents, including many from the Hanham area, have been taking action in protest against cuts to education funding.

HUNDREDS of South Gloucestershire parents, including many from the Hanham area, have been taking action in protest against cuts to education funding.

The Fair Funding For All Schools campaign began in the spring as it became clear that a proposed new national funding formula, designed to reduce inequality in the way education budgets were allocated, was not going to benefit 98 per cent of schools, including those most in need.

As reported in last month’s Voice, more than 300 people attended the first South Glos meeting in Hambrook on April 6, the day after campaigners had urged councillors to back their concerns.

Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election brought the matter into sharper focus, with supporters being encouraged to question candidates about their views on school funding.

South Gloucestershire receives some of the lowest per-pupil funding in the country so head teachers, school staff, parents and students are angry that they will face more real-terms cuts in the coming years.

Some schools in Bristol, South Glos and around the country are warning parents that the pressure on their budgets - including increased pension and National Insurance contributions and rising bills - will mean some tough decisions. 

Governors at Summerhill Infant School have written to parents to explain they will have to reduce the number of learning support assistants from September because of the budget reduction.

Staple Hill Primary governors have written to families saying the school faces a £100,000 cut in the 2018-19 financial year - equivalent to a monthly contribution of £33 per child.

“The school needs to take drastic action,” they say. 

“We will be looking at options such as:

* reducing staffing levels

* changes to school hours

* increasing class sizes

* reducing provision such as breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and school trips."

Eric Mutch, a parent governor at the school, told Voice: "These cuts will affect every parent, regardless of their political persuasion."

Some secondary schools are facing reductions of hundreds of thousands of pounds, which will inevitably mean jobs being axed and curriculum options restricted.

A website,, gives details of the scale of the problem facing education leaders.

Parents in Hanham have been strongly involved in the campaign for more money for schools, delivering hundreds of leaflets to homes in the area and attending the big Fair Funding for All Schools march in Bristol on May 20, which saw an estimated turnout of 6,000 parents, grandparents, children and teachers.

The lobbying is expected to continue after the election on June 8, with events planned this month and next.

Councillors of all parties on South Gloucestershire Council, at its annual meeting on May 17, welcomed the actions of the Fair Funding for all Schools campaigners.

They unanimously passed a motion praising and endorsing the group's aims and vowing to write to the Government immediately after the election calling for increased funding for all schools.