Lucy Frazer has been making claims in the media and in Conservative leaflets that she has won a great deal for the schools of South East Cambridgeshire. They don’t stand up. Here’s why:
Lucy Frazer mentions £14 billion that is to be provided to schools in England and Wales by the end of 2021-22. If this money is delivered, it might be imagined this would have a significant impact. However, in reality school funding is in crisis, so this additional money does nothing more than partially backfill what schools have lost from freezes imposed by the Conservative government. First, at the end of this period of ‘boosted funding’ in 2021-22, schools will at best only return to the funding levels received when the Coalition took office in 2010. Second, the money does nothing to level-up the low-level of funding Cambridgeshire has suffered historically compared with other education authorities.
James Bull, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South East Cambridgeshire explains: “The Schools Cuts Website operated by the National Education Union (https://schoolcuts.org.uk/) estimates that 83% of schools’ budgets will continue to have been cut even after the boost in funding. The situation is worse for Colleges offering post-16 courses e.g. apprenticeships, A-levels etc. Staff at Hills Road and Long Road Colleges in Cambridge that serve South East Cambridgeshire are striking against cuts. Not surprising when, according to the School Cuts Website, Hills Road will operate at minus £348 per student. and Long Road Sixth Form at minus £334 per student compared with 2015. This is not good enough.
James argues that only Labour offers the policies on education that can make our education system one that is fit for purpose: “Labour will restore Surestart Centres to level-up our young people’s opportunities, and also provide free nursery care. As the father of a young daughter who is currently in nursery, I know only too well the nursery’s eye-watering fees. Pupils’ learning needs are unique, and addressing this range of need requires the substantial funding that Labour will dedicate to schools to ensure that that school funding around the country is levelled up, including in areas like our own that have missed out for so long. We will also end the Tories’ enforced academisation of schools, that has resulted in many schools regrettably being run for profit, and subsequently failing. Our schools are a national asset that should be focusing on bringing out the best in our children, not looking to make a fast buck. Labour will abolish tuition fees, reinstate grants for university students removing the prospect of significant debt higher education brings, and under Labour, lifelong learning will become free. The Britain of the 21st century needs to be a high skill economy driven by a highly motivated workforce provided with the education that meets their needs and aspirations without being dragged down by a lifetime of debt.”
The Tories are failing our children