Hackney teachers call on Government to halt £25m schools funding cut

Hackney Town Hall

Headteachers and governors across Hackney have joined council leaders to call on the Government to halt plans to cut more than £25 million from the borough’s schools.

The letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, co-signed by the Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble, also asks for an immediate clarification on funding.

Last year the Government proposed to reform the National Funding Formula in a way which would have made Hackney schools £25 million worse off by 2019, one of the biggest cuts in the country. This translated to £914 less per pupil – or 692 fewer teachers across the borough.

Ahead of the General Election, the Conservative manifesto then pledged no school would face budget cuts. However, in last month’s Queen’s Speech it was announced that reform of the Funding Formula would go ahead.

The letter to Justine Greening, signed by 43 Headteachers and 36 Chairs of Governors, representing about 50 secondary and primary schools, said:

“Whilst we absolutely appreciate the need to see proper resourcing of schools across the country, the changes that were proposed before the election have caused huge concerns to schools and to parents, carers and learners across Hackney. The impact on our schools, our children, and their achievements, would be truly devastating.

“We are writing to you to ask for you to formally reiterate that commitment to Hackney schools and parents, and to provide reassurance that school budgets in our borough will be protected. We are asking for your absolute assurance that those pledges made in your manifesto will be honoured, and that no school will be worse off, either in cash or real terms.

“Both you and the Prime Minister have expressed a commitment to meritocracy, to social mobility, and to making a first class education available to children from all backgrounds. Your manifesto states that every child should be able to attend a good or outstanding school. In Hackney, that is what we are already achieving.

“Over the past 15 years, Hackney schools have been transformed from being the worst in the UK to amongst the very best. Hackney remains one of the most deprived areas of the UK, yet in education terms, our children are outperforming the national average by every measure. Most importantly, that success is not confined to those students from affluent backgrounds. Our children on free school meals are achieving some of the best results in the country for that group, and by some measures are outperforming the national averages for all children.

“All of this achievement would be severely jeopardised by your pre-election proposals. Given that we provide one of the best education offers in the country, to one of its most deprived populations, this would surely be counter to everything you say you are trying to achieve.”

A copy of the full letter is available here.