A letter recently sent to every parent in Bath and North East Somerset says that schools are reaching ‘breaking point’. The letter, signed by virtually every Headteacher in the area, tells parents that schools are experiencing ‘unprecedented cuts to school budgets.’
Wera Hobhouse met with the Headteacher, school governors and parents of Oldfield Park Junior School to discuss the school funding crisis and how to mitigate it. Tim Withers, Chief Executive of the Palladian Trust, also took part in the meeting.
Oldfield Park Junior School is in the fortunate position of having passionate staff, a very positive ethos and a highly engaged community. But as Dave Goucher said “As Headteacher, I am having to balance the books every single day. We want to give our kids the best possible experience. But thanks to funding cuts, we’re lucky if each year has one Teaching Assistant.”
“To overcome the deepening funding crisis, we need to be creative and think outside the box by working with people we know. We have a strong PTA and good links with the Bath Spa University and ERASMUS teacher training programmes. The PTA is great at raising funds, but we shouldn’t have to use this money to buy books,” Dave Goucher stated.
The parents and governors shared their views and voiced their support for the school. They noted that the majority of parents, many of whom went to school in the 1980s, are unaware of the extent of the funding crisis, because their own education was coloured by funding cuts.
Parents need to know that their children’s school experience could be so much richer and more rewarding.
Wera heard how funding cuts are impacting essential services such as school nurses, SEND and family support. Vulnerable children and families are being hardest hit.
On the day of Wera’s visit, pupils and staff wore red mufti, to mark National Blood Cancer Day and to support one of their fellow pupils who has leukemia.
“Parents listen to teachers. And politicians listen to parents,” Wera said. “So I encourage everyone in Bath who is concerned about their children’s and grandchildren’s education to join me at the Fair Funding for All BANES protest and picnic on Saturday 8th June staring at 12 noon at Queen Square. We need to drag the government’s head out of the sand.”
To find out how you can get involved in this hugely important campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.