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Hundreds of schools to rally against 'national funding scandal'

Funding cuts are driving teachers to leave the profession and depriving vulnerable pupils of support, say campaigners

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Funding cuts are driving teachers to leave the profession and depriving vulnerable pupils of support, say campaigners

Hundreds of schools are set to take part in two separate rallies this week, in a bid to maintain pressure on the government to increase school funding.

The rallies in Birmingham and Brighton – planned for Thursday – will involve headteachers, school staff, pupils and parents, according to the Save Our Schools campaign, which is organising the events.

In the West Midlands, more than 200 schools are set to unfurl Save Our Schools banners at school gates, spelling out the cuts they are facing.

Meanwhile, in Brighton & Hove, campaigners will unveil a giant banner on the Palace Pier, and all 72 schools in the city are also due to unveil handmade banners.

The campaigners say a "continuing education funding scandal" is leading teachers to resign, forcing schools to consider four-and-a-half day weeks and depriving vulnerable pupils of support.

Alison Ali, a parent and founding member of the Save Our Schools campaign in Brighton & Hove, said: “We’re hearing stories from up and down the country of the difficult decisions schools are having to take to survive.

"When school funding is cut, it’s our children who pay the price. It’s time all of us – heads, teachers and parents – shared our stories, so that the scale of this national scandal can be understood."

Prominent issue

The events follow last week's Education Policy Institute report that found the proportion of local authority secondary schools in deficit nearly trebled in the four years to 2016-17.

Per-pupil school funding is being maintained up to 2020, but the introduction of the national funding formula will affect schools differently across the country.

And last week, Tes revealed that education secretary Damian Hinds was forced to correct a claim, made in the House of Commons, that school funding was increasing in real terms.

At today's Education Questions in Parliament, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner jumped on the correction, accusing Mr Hinds of making "misleading" statements. 

She was told by speaker John Bercow that, under parliamentary etiquette, she should have said "inadvertently misleading".

School funding became a prominent issue ahead of the general election, with several campaign groups springing up around the country.

Today, Electoral Commission figures reveal that two teaching unions – the NASUWT and NUT (which is now part of the NEU teaching union) – spent a combined £537,000 on campaigning in the run-up to 8 June 2017.

The biggest single spend was £94,800 by the NUT to Small Axe Communications for a social advertising campaign to promote the School Cuts website, which showed the amount being cut in each part of the country.

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