School funding: Heads threaten protest march

Campaign leader reports heads' fears that schools will be neglected after the election despite promises of extra funding

Charlotte Santry

School funding: Campaign leader Jules White says heads would march on Westminster again

Thousands of headteachers are prepared to march on Parliament if politicians ignore the pressing funding issues facing schools after Thursday's general election, a campaign leader has warned .

Jules White, founder of the Worth Less? school funding campaign, told Tes that there were widespread fears that political parties had pledged money to schools to "keep us [headteachers] quiet" and that, once polling day was over, schools would be neglected.

Five thousand members of the campaign group had planned to march in Westminster in September to express their anger and frustration about shortfalls facing their schools. But this march was called off following the government pledge to spend an extra £7.1 billion on schools by 2022-23.

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Speaking to Tes today, Mr White, who is headteacher at Tanbridge House School, in West Sussex, said: "We have definitely postponed rather than cancelled it, to see how things have played out. Headteachers would march again."

School funding fears

Triggers for a march could include schools in disadvantaged areas being handed real-terms cuts, schools in more affluent areas having to continue propping up budgets with high-needs funds, or an increase in youth crime and pupils' mental health problems.

"All of those factors could come together," said Mr White. "What worries us is will some of the money that's been promised, is that just to keep us quiet, and to keep schools off the political agenda?

"Everyone I speak to in education is extremely worried that after 12 December there'll be this idea that 'schools are done because we've pledged some money', and I think that's only half the problem. We need to know where the money will go."

Mr White claimed the threat of September's march was partly behind the Conservatives' decision to give schools extra funding.  "I don't think they wanted 5,000 headteachers in their Marks and Spencer suits going to Parliament and saying, 'Children aren't being funded properly,'" he said.



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Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry is deputy news editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @CharlotteSantry

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