For the fifth year running, every child in Lambeth whose application was on time has been offered a secondary school place. 80% of children have been offered a place at their first or second preference school in the Borough. This is in stark contrast to the 500 children who found themselves without an offer of a school place when a Tory-Lib Dem coalition ran Lambeth Council 2002-2006.
Lambeth has gone from being the worst performing education authority in the country to one of the best in the country. 96% of our schools are now good or better and 40% are outstanding. That ranks us in the top 15 of 152 local authorities. This is an incredible transformation, but it has been hard won. It comes from partnerships between schools and the local authority, and reflects the remarkable efforts of students, parents, teachers, head teachers, school staff and Lambeth’s officers, as well as political vision and commitment. It also reflects the high needs funding that the last Labour Government instituted, as well as the success of the London Challenge and our wider school reforms. Anyone who lives in Lambeth will have seen this transformation, founded by a Labour Government and delivered in partnership with a Labour Council, over the last decade.
However, all of this hard work is at risk....
The Government is proposing a new National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools by 2018/19. We as Prince’s Councillors are extremely concerned about how this will impact on our schools in Lambeth, and in particular on the schools in our area.
The new funding formula is intended to even out funding to schools that historically have been underfunded. In reality, however, the Conservatives are breaking their manifesto promise to protect schools funding. Half of schools gain from the changes, but half lose out badly, including Lambeth. This is because the new funding arrangements do not take into account areas with higher need, such as more children on free school dinners. Currently Lambeth receives extra support for children who speak English as a second language, have special needs, come from a deprived background or who are refugees. All of these groups are of much higher prevalence in Lambeth than in other areas, yet thrive much more here than other areas because of our commitment to education. But all that success is at risk. Lambeth is, along with Hackney, Lewisham and Camden, the worst hit borough in London from the Government’s changes to schools’ funding.
How will the affect our schools in Vauxhall and Kennington?
The National Union of Teachers estimates a 16% real terms cut for Lambeth. That’s £24,452,873 cut from education in Lambeth by 2019.
In Kennington and Vauxhall, local schools will see the following funding reductions by 2019:
· Archbishop Sumner - £823 per pupil
· St Anne’s - £636 per pupil
· Vauxhall Primary school - £727 per pupil
· Walnut Tree Walk - £546 per pupil
· Lilian Baylis - £1024 per pupil (£636, 952 total lost budget by 2019)
Lambeth Labour has written to every school, setting out our position and support for them, asking schools to join us in the campaign and asking for evidence of what they think the impact will be on their school. Already, across Lambeth we’ve heard concerns that the changes will result in teacher and support staff redundancies and less equipment and resources to fund the general curriculum. We’re particularly concerned about the equalities impact of these changes on vulnerable groups due to the make-up of our schools, so we’ve also asked schools what they fear the impact could be on specialist support for those groups as well. Are you concerned about these changes? Please sign our petition to let the Government know!
Councillors heard at Full Council last month a deputation from parents concerned about the impact on their schools. This week we also joined Fair Funding Lambeth at a an extremely well-attended public meeting at Sunnyhill Primary School, where we heard from Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council. Chuka Umunna MP, the General Secretary of the NUT and dozens of parents and teachers. We plan to hold a similar meeting in Vauxhall soon.
How can I campaign against this?
A group of parents have set up a campaign group called Fair Funding for All Schools: http://www.fairfundingforallschools.org/
Lambeth has its own branch called Fair Funding Lambeth. If you are interested in getting involved in their campaign, we encourage you to join their Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/FairFundingLambeth/ and follow them on Twitter: @FairFundLambeth
Lambeth Councillors have joined Fair Funding Lambeth in calling on the Government to invest more funding in schools. In particular, we are calling on the Government to provide an additional £335m per year (1% of the Department for Education’s schools budget) to ensure no school loses funding as a direct result of the implementation of the NFF. Please sign our petition if you agree that our schools need investment, not cuts.
And please forward to your friends and family to ask them to sign too.
Please also read and share this impassioned blog by our Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and neighbouring colleague in Oval, Cllr Claire Holland: http://www.lambeth-labour.org.uk/tory_cuts_to_our_schools