Dont reverse the remarkable transformation in Londons schools

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Sun 12 Feb 2017

Dont reverse the remarkable transformation in Londons schools

A View from City Hall, article as featured in the March issue of Palmers Green and Southgate LIFE magazine

By Joanne McCartney AM E: joanne.mccartney@london.gov.uk www.joannemccartney.com

Tel: 0207 983 5524

Don’t reverse the remarkable transformation in London’s schools

There has been a remarkable transformation in London schools over the last 15 years with our children’s attainment rising dramatically. Now 92% of London schools are rated as good or outstanding and outperform every other region in the country. Head teachers, teachers and support staff can be justifiably proud of their and their pupils’ achievements.

But now funding pressures on schools threaten these improvements. The government is proposing a new schools’ funding formula which will see 70% of London’s schools face budget cuts - the largest reduction in funding in the country.

This proposed cut must also be seen in the context of other funding pressures. A recent report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that additional cost pressures for schools equated to an 8% real terms reduction in per-pupil funding between 2014-15 and 2019-20, and no school that gains under the revised formula will gain enough to compensate for these increased cost pressures.

The National Audit Office has warned of a risk to educational outcomes as a result of these funding pressures. As around 70% of a school’s budget is spent on staff, funding reductions are likely to mean fewer teachers and support staff who are the major factor in children making progress and achieving good results.

There are other challenges too. Too many of 16 year olds (around a third) do not achieve a grade C in maths or English, and although London does relatively well, there is still a significant attainment gap for the most disadvantaged students. A projected 165,000 extra school places are needed by 2025 and over half of London’s head teachers are over 50, many expecting to retire in the next few years.

Every child deserves a good education and without the right qualifications and skills they will not make the most of their potential and access good quality jobs in the future. At a time when employers are warning of skills shortages, amplified by concerns over Brexit, we should be investing more in education and vocational training. The government needs to think again about its plans to cut funding to London’s schools and ensure that all schools nationally have the resources they need.

Ellie Sales, Editor of Palmers Green and Southgate LIFE magazine and PTA chair of Hazelwood School says “Many of the local schools in Palmers Green and Southgate will be hugely disadvantaged by these cuts, Hazelwood School will see a cut of £121,000 and St Monica’s will see an even more dramatic cut of £175,000. It is scary to see how the schools will make up this shortfall. We hope to petition the Government to address this situation.  The schools work tirelessly to improve education standards taking into account the new, and some believe unfair, achievement standards set by the Government.  These cuts are likely to result in staff cuts and this will almost certainly affect education standards. Our PTA at Hazelwood will be working closely with the school and our Governing body to try to find a way through the difficult period that lies ahead”