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Minister refuses to back calls to reverse schools cuts

March 21, 2017 3:42 PM

Cumbrian MPs meet Schools Minister to discuss cutsSouth Lakeland MP Tim Farron has expressed his "disappointment" following a meeting today with the Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP. The Minister accepted that schools in Cumbria faced a £23million cut in funding by 2020, and that this could see 625 teachers cut, but would not waver from his view that schools had to make savings.

The Minister explained that schools had been protected for a long time under the coalition, but that schools were now expected to make savings. He also acknowledged that changes to the funding formula, which Lib Dems had pushed for under coalition, will mean that the scale of cuts in Cumbria is less than it would otherwise be.

When challenged about how schools in Cumbria could hope to make such huge cuts without affecting the quality of teaching, the Minister said schools should make savings through efficiency savings.

Tim had organised the meeting to highlight the funding crisis faced by schools across Cumbria. Tim also invited his fellow Cumbrian MPs to the meeting, as well as a representative from the Cumbrian branch of the National Association of Head Teachers.

Tim said: "This meeting was massively disappointing. I had hoped that the Minister's willingness to listen would mean a willingness to change course. Instead, he confirmed that the government plans to press ahead with these huge cuts. These cuts will lead to fewer teachers, fewer teaching assistants and larger class sizes.

"Every schoolchild, parent and teacher will feel hugely let down. As a parent with children at a local school, I too feel let down. But I am in no mood to give up. Education is vital to giving every child the best possible chance in life. I will continue to work alongside local teachers, parents and campaigners to put pressure on the government to reverse these damaging cuts."

Photo from the meeting:
L-R: Graham Frost, Cumbria NAHT; John Woodcock MP; Tim Farron MP; Sue Hayman MP; John Stevenson MP; Rory Stewart MP.