Alan Campbell MP: Our children deserve better

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Good schools are rightly seen as a key for economic growth and national success. But as many of us know personally they are crucial to breaking down barriers and spreading opportunity. I visit schools as often as possible to talk to headteachers and staff but also to get “grilled” by pupils who are often fully aware of the challenges schools and young people face.

Don’t get me wrong, our local schools are doing a good job but do so despite an uncertain financial future.

A recent report showed that 70% of schools have less funding in real terms than in 2010. In Tynemouth 58% of schools have less funding from the Government which equates to £293 per pupil and almost £4million in total.

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This means fewer teachers and support staff than would otherwise have been the case. We have some of the largest class sizes in Europe because we spend on average less than most European countries. Teachers say that can have a negative effect on pupils progress, attainment and behaviour. Covid is often cited as the root of the problems but the real cost comes from austerity policies since 2010.

Alan Campbell MP.Alan Campbell MP.
Alan Campbell MP.

With 8 Education Secretaries in 6 years there is a lack of leadership and of direction, with further risk of drift in the future. There are things that can be done. Private schools paying their fair share of tax would finance 40,000 more teachers with specialist teachers in front of specialist classes. Unfunded tax cuts won’t help because as night follows day cuts to services will follow. Our children deserve better.

Alan Campbell is Labour MP for Tynemouth