Teachers rally against budget cuts

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Protesters holding Labour sign. Pic © Sara O’Hagan/JMU Journalism

Dozens of teachers from schools across Merseyside gathered outside St George’s Hall to protest against funding cuts.

Local councillors and Mayor Joe Anderson joined them, along with Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Raynor MP, on Saturday.

Demonstrators say proposed cuts could mean that the schools’ budget would be slashed by 9% by 2020. They claim this could equate to them losing 778 teachers, which is equivalent to £488 per pupil. Numerous schools across the city are set to be affected.

The Labour-organised protest included members of the UK youth parliament, the Supply Teachers Network and National Union of Teachers (NUT) voicing their concerns.

Mayor Anderson was the first to speak, as he condemned the Conservative government’s budget plans, explaining how the city of Liverpool has improved in educational standards, adding that no-one under any circumstances should allow Westminster to stifle the prospects of young people.

Speaking of the demonstration, Mayor Anderson told JMU Journalism: “It’s great to see the support and it brings people together. People who work in the schools, in higher education, but also parents and trade unions who all work together to highlight what is going to happen if they go ahead with the cuts.

“It’s going to be a massive massive blow to education and it will impact on standards for our young people.”

YouTube: Sara O’Hagan

Earlier this year, the NUT completed a survey of its members on funding cuts that have already occurred within their schools. It revealed that 76% of respondents said that their school had already experienced a cut for 2016-2017, with only 4% reporting that their budget had increased.

Among those teachers who expressed their concern was Tim Short, who is a teacher and Sefton National Education Union division member.

He told JMU Journalism: “Education is now the third most important issue when people vote, and although such an issue has been pushed up it’s still going through a funding crisis.

“I teach at Christ the King in Southport and the pressure that the school and management is under is very intense. It is not helping pupils day-to-day functioning.”

This summer, the UK Government announced what it said was £1.3bn of extra funding for schools, meaning overall budgets would rise from almost £41bn in 2017-18 to £43.5bn in 2019-20.

Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP, said this was an increase in the basic level of funding to at least £4,800 per pupil at secondary schools in England, and £3,500 per pupil at primaries.