MP must do more than ‘meet the minister’

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Rustling up a few tin cans for a table-top sale in support of a school at the annual Parent Teacher Association fair is par for the course.

But it comes to something when the PTA is forced to launch an urgent impromptu ‘donation station’ because the school can no longer afford to heat the staff room.

Funding for education is tight – with the £1.3bn ‘extra funding’ announced this year by government branded not enough by teaching unions and headteachers.

Tough decisions are having to be made by schools up and down the country as they struggle to keep their budgets in check.

So it’s this situation that has led infant school Mill Rythe in Hayling Island pulling the plug on its staff room heating so the school can pay for glue.

It is facing losing three teaching posts by 2020 with a £108,000 funding loss – despite the government saying there will be an increase in the basic sum paid to schools, with a £110,000 lump sum under a new funding formula.

And there’s the clincher. It seems all organisations in the public sector have been offered a new funding formula, including police forces who still wait for theirs to emerge.

But whichever way you dish out money from the pot, the Conservative government still believes in austerity so there will be no sudden reverse of cuts – just winners and losers.

One school will benefit, another will lose out. Pupils may get glue, staff may have to bring in a couple of extra jumpers for the precious few minutes they get to relax – if indeed they do get time that.

Havant MP Alan Mak assures the PTA, pupils and teachers at Mill Rythe that he’s met the schools minister over the issue – but hasn’t said how the minister reacted.

It’s cold comfort for those left having to make the tough calls.