One of the greatest pleasures of my job is visiting local schools and meeting ambitious, active, inspiring and enquiring young people.
We know that not everyone in Newham grows up in comfortable circumstances, but, in every school I visit, I see passion and enthusiasm and resolve, despite this government’s best efforts to hold them back.
One thing I hear repeatedly, from parents, pupils and teachers alike, is that funding and resources for schools are simply not enough.
West Ham, is one of 18 constituencies in London to see every single school budget slashed.
Between 2015 and 2020, for example, schools in Green Street area will lose £2,088,518; schools in Forest Gate will lose £1,263,937.
These cuts mean overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, insufficient and old books and crumbling buildings, as a result of years of deliberate Tory underfunding. Our children, and our teachers, deserve better.
Theresa May drones on about ‘record levels of money’ going into schools; but as Labour shows, per-pupil spending is what counts, and that is still falling steeply.
Now, against the advice of education experts, her Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced there will be £50 million taken out of the education budget and poured into grammar schools for the well off. It beggars belief.
The unfair, broken grammar system results in children living in the poorest quarter of households having less than 10% chance of getting into them.
It scorns the talents and creativity of so many children, like those I meet all the time in Newham. It is damaging for the UK, as a whole. Many education experts and policy-makers are furious their hands-on advice has gone unheeded.
The Prime Minister’s disturbing obsession with selective education continues and Newham’s children are suffering, as a result.
Only a Labour government will ensure our schools get the funding they need and give every child, no matter their background, the best chance to succeed.
Until that time, we’ll continue doing everything possible to oppose the cuts and stand with the teachers and other education professionals, doing their level best to give our children the education they deserve.