Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE ANDERSON

ONE of Labour's greatest achievements in Government between 1997 and 2010 was the huge investment we ploughed into education, after years of Tory neglect.

Thousands of schools up and down our country that were left to decay during the 80s and 90s were rebuilt or refurbished under the Building Schools for the Future Programme.

We also prioritised the creation of Sure Start in 1998 and developed the role of teaching assistants to intervene with those groups of children who needed more support.

Both have sadly been savaged over the past six years as our fantastic "Every Child Matters" agenda fades into a distant memory. When Labour promised a programme of national renewal based on "education, education, education" we really meant it.

Genuine fair funding for all schools is something that we should all agree on, yet once again we have a government who are unwilling to invest properly in our young people.

Every child deserves an excellent education, especially if we are to compete on the global stage when we leave the EU.

So all schools should have access to the best resources to meet the needs of all their pupils.

But with a widening school funding gap, estimated at PS3 billion, the Government is simply not making enough cash available to schools to deliver on the ground.

Under the Government's current funding proposals, Gateshead schools are set to lose over PS8 million. That equates to PS362 per pupil or 227 teachers across the Borough. I'm deeply concerned that we could see mass redundancies in our schools as well as cuts in learning materials such as books and IT resources, as well as extra-curricular activities, school visits and healthy school meals.

I recently met with our brilliant Primary and Secondary Heads in Gateshead, who believe their schools are now at a tipping point because of the cash shortage.

They reported being increasingly unable to afford to replace teaching assistants and teachers who have left, they are struggling to pay for classroom materials and don't have the funds to undertake building repairs. …

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