'Nobody forgets' campaign turned on the Government
In today's TES, East Riding Council mimics the Government's high-profile teaching recruitment campaign with two adverts to highlight what it believes is an injustice in central funding.
The council has spent more than pound;2,800 on its advert and leaflet campaign but denies public money has been wasted on a political initiative.
Director of education John Ginnever said: "The cost has been kept to an absolute minimum and is a tiny amount compared to the shortfall in schools. We would prefer not to have to do it but our plight is very serious. We felt there was no other way to get it recognised. We tried lobbying ministers last year but had no success."
The council claims it lost pound;7 million from education when it split from Humberside to form a unitary authority in 1996. It believes the formula used to calculate Standard Spending Assessments - what local councils should spend on education - discriminates against rural authorities.
This year its school budgets were cut by pound;2.3m, the third consecutive decrease, although the council is spending pound;5m above the SSA.
Campaign literature claims an East Riding secondary school is pound;40,000 a year worse off than its Humberside counterparts.
In an attempt to get a better SSA for 1999, the council has issued 50,000 leaflets to parents calling on them to lobby Education Secretary David Blunkett to change the formula.
Carol White, East Riding's senior assistant director of education, said:
"This is not meant to be an attack on the Labour Government. It is an attack on the system. We had to use these tactics because Government will be making decisions about next year's SSA in the next few weeks.
"At a time when the value of education has never been so highly stressed by politicians and public alike, 40 teaching jobs are going in our area. Cuts mean 22 support staff are also being lost from schools.
"We currently have the second worst primary pupil:teacher ratio in the country. This situation is only going to get worse now 40 teachers have been lost."
A Department for Education and Employment spokesman said: "East Riding is getting a 6.6 per cent increase, an extra pound;7 million. The Government believes that this should be sufficient to meet inflation and any other additional pressures East Riding schools may face."