One Halton headteacher told me recently “School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point”. This is the real legacy of a Tory government. Many schools here in Halton are struggling with their budgets, facing cuts and having to reduce their staff. Our teachers do a great job, working hard to give our children a good education but the pressure on them is growing with more teachers leaving the profession. The Tories proposed new schools funding formula would see cuts to the budgets of all but one of our secondary schools in Halton.
In Parliament I have raised concerns about the funding crisis facing our schools and had secured a meeting with the Schools Minister and local headteachers to put the case for more funding. Sadly the meeting had to be cancelled due to the terrorist attack in Westminster. The snap General Election meant a new meeting could not be arranged before Parliament was dissolved but you can be sure, it will be top of my priority list if I am re-elected. I have always supported our Halton schools and since 1997 helped some to secure additional funding for new school buildings.
Labour will make sure schools are properly resourced by reversing the Conservatives’ cuts and ensuring that all schools have the resources they need. We will introduce a fairer funding formula that leaves no school worse off, while redressing the historical under funding of certain schools.
To give all children the best start in life, we will reduce class sizes to less than 30 for all five, six and seven- year-olds, and seek to extend that as resources allow. To aid attainment, we will introduce free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
If re-elected I will continue to stand up for our schools using all my experience, including as a former Schools Minister, to fight for the best deal for education in Halton.