Fund Merton's Schools!

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31 May 2018

Schools Debate

Under this Government, schools in Merton are set to lose a staggering £1,820,818 between 2015 and 2020, despite 40% of primary schools and 60% of secondary schools in the borough having had to cut staff since 2014.


That’s what makes the achievements of Merton's schools even more remarkable. Under the most testing of circumstances, Merton’s schools are ranked as the best performing in the country – a fantastic achievement that every single Governor, Head Teacher and staff member should be incredibly proud of.


But our schools are under immense pressure. And behind the facts and figures are the governors, pupils and teachers struggling to cope. 


Before the debate, a group of teachers wrote to Siobhain from their staff room.


“We are stretched beyond belief. Corners are being cut, stopping the breadth of the curriculum and yet, despite the setbacks, we are expected to produce better outcomes than ever before! We’ve even run out of pens, glue sticks and basic stationary!”


Schools have been admirably shielding their pupils from the damage these cuts are causing, but they can only do so for so long. And these are schools facing hardship like never before.


Three different Head Teachers have now written to Siobhain from across the constituency and here are some shocking and saddening extracts from their letters: 


  • We see children who eat their lunch very quickly, whilst ‘protecting’ their plate with an arm as they eat.


  • If he won the lottery, one child said he would go food shopping to buy lots of cereal and porridge to fill him up and keep him warm.


  • We believe that a significant number of our children are so used to feeling hungry and cold that they do not recognise these feelings.


  • We have children in temporary accommodation changing schools several times, impacting them socially, educationally and financially.



The Government argues that it is trying to distribute funds more fairly. But it fails to address the uneven battle that those in the most disadvantaged areas face to even attend a good school in the first place. A child living in one of England’s most disadvantaged areas is 27 times more likely to go to an inadequate school than a child living in one of the least disadvantaged. Spreading the funding evenly, therefore, does not fairly share the opportunity.


For there will be almost no real-term winners under this Government’s proposals. The cake needs to be bigger for anyone to get a bigger, fairer, slice.