Sunday, 22 September 2019

Parent Michelle Thomas on the education funding march

Parent Michelle Thomas on the education funding march

IT is very rare that a parish council clashes with the Government but I cannot think of a more serious and worthy cause than that of the funding crisis in education.

Initially buoyed by the announcement from No 10 on Friday, I sifted through the detail and it became quite clear to me that the funding crisis is not yet over.

Hopes were even further dashed on Saturday with the announcement made for 16+education.

On Monday a new pay deal was announced for new teachers with no detail on how it will be funded.

On Tuesday the new academic year started for our schools and early years providers and on Monday The Henley College will start theirs.

Henley never intended to be on the front line of how the very recent news of the funding for schools, SEND and college education would be received, but Henley will be responsible for sending the first clear message to the Government on whether it has done enough to address the chronic lack of funding in the education sector.

At the time of writing, there has been no announcement for pre-school funding. Parents up and down the country are being asked to contribute directly to schools on top of paying their taxes and are having to fund-raise like never before. This is just not right.

If the funding announced last week was enough and immediate, Henley would call the march off. If not, Henley will march.

I can confirm with a heavy heart Henley will march and the town council will continue to do all it can to support teachers, support staff and pupils of all ages to fight for the education our children deserve.

Henley being on the front line of this funding crisis and being Boris Johnson’s former constituency is why regional TV and national newspapers are covering our march tomorrow.

In other words, Henley is giving its verdict and Henley is marching for immediate increased funding in education.

Every child gets one chance with their education and parents up and down the country have joined with teachers to voice their anger and desperation over the current crisis. It makes no sense to cheat a generation out of the education they deserve. This generation of children is important to the future success of our country and so they matter for the whole of society.

Offering a full curriculum of subjects taught in modern buildings with up-to-date facilities is every child’s birth right, whatever their circumstances and wherever they live.

Oxfordshire remains one of the lowest-funded areas in the UK but education should not be a postcode lottery.

It is testament to our dedicated teachers, staff and determined students that, year after year, Henley excels in the face of adversity but how much longer can it last?

Please put the current political scene aside for an hour tomorrow morning and come and support our wonderful pre-schools, schools and college.

Our message is simple: we need the money now, not drip fed over the next three to four years.

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