Dagenham parent campaigns against school funding cuts with leaflets on the school run

Jane Meech, who's been head of Village Infants' School for six years. Picture: Ken Mears

Jane Meech, who's been head of Village Infants' School for six years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Parents at Village Infants School in Dagenham were leafletted during Friday’s school run in a bid to raise awareness of school funding cuts.

Jane Meech, who's been head of Village Infants' School for six years. Picture: Ken Mears

Jane Meech, who's been head of Village Infants' School for six years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Afzal Munna, a parent at the school and a teacher in Tower Hamlets, organised a banner drop and handed out leaflets.

He said: “There have been few funding cuts so far, but it’s the future we’re unsure of.”

Afzal admitted that while the school hasn’t faced physical cuts in funding, class sizes have increased.

“It’s a matter of attention – if you have 19 pupils, one class teacher and one teaching assistant, you can look after them well,” he said.

Jane Meech, who's been head of Village Infants' School for six years. Picture: Ken Mears

Jane Meech, who's been head of Village Infants' School for six years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant


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“But when you have 39 children your attention is diverted and your children are learning less.”

Afzal’s leafletting was an attempt to raise awareness and put pressure on the government to secure funding for schools, like the ringfenced funding seen by the NHS.

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According to schoolcuts.org.uk, funding to the school increased last year, but because of increased pupil numbers, income per pupil went down. Using data from the schools block funding allocation and the OBR’s estimates for inflation, the site estimates 49 of 53 schools in the borough will face cuts by 2020.

“The school has its own voice, but parents voices are more powerful,” Afzal said.

“We want to combine those voices and raise them to the government.

“We had the privilege to have a good education – why not give our children the same?”

Afzal was supported by Village Infants’ headteacher, Jane Meech. She said: “I’d love to be able to have a play therapist and a family support worker, but I can’t afford to employ them. I’ve already extended classrooms, I’ve already not replaced suppport staff who’ve left.

“At the moment my budget is being supported by a carry-forward. That’s not sustainable. Next year we’ll have to start making decisions on teacher cuts.”

A department for education spokeswoman said: “There is more money going into our schools than ever before. No school will lose funding as a result of our fairer formula and by 2020, core school funding will rise to £43.5 billion – 50 per cent more per pupil in real terms than in 2000.

“Overall, class sizes have seen little change with 27 pupils in primary and 21 pupils in secondary classes on average, and there are 15,500 more teachers than in 2010.”

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