Standing up for children’s education

Local government conference sets out campaign to combat school funding cuts

School cuts are damaging children and UNISON will gear up campaigning against them, UNISON’s local government conference heard on Sunday afternoon.

Many schools are losing funding – some of them in the most deprived areas of the country – thanks to the Department for Education’s schools funding proposals.

This threat to the quality of education and the jobs of teaching staff will be opposed by UNISON, working alongside teachers and parents.

Teaching assistants from across the country addressed conference and spoke of the impact cuts to education have already had in their schools.

Vicky Perry from Yorkshire & Humberside region said that the cuts mean in her area schools are considering reducing open hours to four and a half days per week.

In Bolton, teaching assistants are having their hours reduced because cutting hours is cheaper than making people redundant, Susanne Boardman told conference.

Another delegate explained that her school would have £319 less to spend on each pupil under the new funding proposals.

Danny Judge from Ealing said that he was seeing “restructuring through the back door”, as staff were leaving and not being replaced, but no consultations on staffing were taking place.

Despite the impact of these cuts, speakers were positive about the ability to campaign against them, citing colleagues in Derby and Durham and their campaigns against cuts to their pay and terms and conditions.

Conference called on the union to:

  • provide support advice and guidance to branches and school reps on school funding reform;
  • work with other education unions in the campaign against these proposals and highlight the funding crisis in schools;
  • engage with parents and communities in local campaigns to protect school funding;
  • lobby politicians from all parties on the impact of reform in their constituencies and on the need for more funding for schools;
  • give full support to any branches faced with attacks on terms and conditions or redundancies resulting from school funding reform;
  • look at the possibility of a lawful national trade dispute and industrial action.