SCHOOL: Speak out on under-funding

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I am writing in response to the letter from Conservative councillors Castle, Moore and Thorne titled Credit For First Class Facility, (Northumberland Gazette, October 5).

It was a shame to see them ignore one of the biggest issues Duchess’s Community High School is facing, despite talking about how the school staff have had to navigate “treacherous waters” over the past year.

They state: “It is to the credit of the Conservative Government that the money was allocated to build it.”

These councillors see fit to rightly praise the hard work and efforts of staff and pupils at the school, yet ignore the crucial fact that the Duchess’s Community High School is one of many educational facilities in Northumberland that face losing a total of £13million of funding due to Conservative Government austerity.

Hopefully, the councillors will see the damage this under-funding is doing to local schools, who are struggling to manage already constricted budgets.

In addition to not receiving a pay rise in over seven years, some teachers in Northumberland are now having to buy their own classroom supplies and fund essential educational projects themselves.

I was hoping Coun Moore would be able to ask his Conservative Government some important questions on behalf of the people of Alnwick while he was enjoying the Tory Party conference in Manchester last week.

For example, why does the Conservative Party think it’s acceptable to continue with cuts to education, healthcare and emergency services while paying £1billion of taxpayers’ money to the DUP?

As an ex-pupil of the Duchess’s Community High School, I believe it is disgraceful to see funding being cut to an educational institution that has given so much to the community.

I have personal experience of how hard working the teachers are and how committed and dedicated all our school staff have been for many years.

So yes, praise their hard work, but also speak out against this appalling treatment of the state education system and stand up for the residents of Northumberland who will suffer the results.

If local councillors refuse to stand up for what is right and continue to label any criticism as a ‘political attack’, then what hope do we have of tackling some of the biggest challenges facing our local area?

James Matthewson,