Thank you to everyone who contacted me about education funding.
I absolutely share your concern about the impact that Tory funding cuts are having on our schools. After thirteen years of austerity, we appear to be going backwards as a country, with school funding set to be 3% less in real-terms next year than it was when Labour left government in 2010. The simple truth is that the Tories have squandered Labour’s legacy on education, where we increased funding to record levels while in government.
And what we’ve seen in recent months has been nothing short of chaos, with the government publishing school funding allocations in July this year, only to reveal months later that due to an accounting error schools would actually be receiving significantly less money than they had been told. That means an average primary school will be over £12,000 worse off in the next academic year, and an average secondary more than £57,000 down.
Meanwhile, the government have now identified more than 200 schools in danger of collapse because of crumbling concrete, having scrapped Labour’s school rebuilding programme when they came to power. But with the Tories churning through seven education secretaries in just five years – including one that lasted only three days – it’s hardly surprising that the Department of Education is in complete disarray, with our children being the ones who suffer as a result.
Labour in government is committed to fixing the crisis in our schools. That’s why we’ve announced that if elected we’ll scrap the tax benefits currently enjoyed by private schools and use the money to get more funding into our state education system. And we’ll use that extra money to provide free breakfast clubs for all primary age children, fund recruitment of over 6,500 more teachers, increase the number of teachers with maths qualifications, and put access to mental health counselling in every school. That’s the kind of bold action we need to make Britain’s education system world class again.
But until the public gets a chance to have their say at the next general election, please rest assured that I will continue to do everything in my power to hold the government to account for the state of our education system.