Twickenham MP Munira Wilson has joined local school governors to raise the alarm over the school funding crisis. Munira met local school governors outside of the Department of Education to hand in a letter requesting an urgent meeting with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.
Chairs of governors at 19 primary and secondary schools in Richmond and Kingston boroughs have written to Gillian Keegan warning that years of insufficient funding are “taking an enormous toll on our staff and our school leaders,” who are now at “breaking point.” They demanded an urgent meeting with the Education Secretary to discuss how “inadequate school funding is impacting every area of school life.”
The letter highlights the main problems that funding pressures are having on London’s schools, including that:
- Many of the schools “are running budget deficits for the first time”.
- Soaring energy bills mean that one school is “paying £78,000 more than a year ago.”
- Schools “have no choice but to cut back on teaching assistants and learning support assistants”, even when the number of children needing additional learning support has risen since the pandemic.
The 19 signatories to the letter were represented at the hand-in by governors from Stanley Primary and Carlisle & Hampton Hill Federation in Twickenham, and St Paul’s CofE Primary in Kingston.
Deb Long, chair of governors at Carlisle Infant School and Hampton Hill Junior School, who coordinated the letter, said:
“Our headteachers are amazing people who go above and beyond to give our pupils a great education. But funding is now so tight that they can no longer budget for the basics.
“Pupils and staff will lose out. Schools in South West London can’t recruit enough specialist teachers, are putting off repairs and are cutting school trips.
“We can’t sit silently any longer. We hope Gillian Keegan will take up our offer of a meeting so we can show her why more funding for our schools is desperately needed.”
Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham and Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, added:
“Schools in my area tell me that they’ve never had it so bad. Some are cutting support staff to balance the books whilst others are charging parents if their child gets on the football team. Teachers are overworked and underfunded, pushed to the brink by this Government’s mismanagement.
“Education should be an investment in our children’s future. Yet unless Ministers address the funding pressures that London’s schools are under, pupils’ learning will suffer. We cannot afford to let our young people down.”
Later the same afternoon, in Parliament, Munira received a commitment from the Minister for a meeting to discuss these crucial issues.
Read the full text of the letter here: