Meeting highlights issues faced by Portsmouth teachers

SCHOOLS in cities such as Portsmouth are at the biggest risk of cuts in funding, a meeting in the city was told last night.

Saturday, 27th May 2017, 6:55 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:40 pm
The meeting at Buckland Community Centre. to discuss the future of school funding . Picture: Sarah Standing (170670-8848)

That was the message given to teachers, parents and school support staff at the Portsmouth Trades Council event.

Meeting at Buckland Community Centre, the meeting revolved around the proposed cuts to the education sector, and the impact that this would have on schools and students.

The meeting was not only attended by Amanda Martin from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), but also both Labour candidates in Portsmouth – Rumal Khan (Portmsouth North) and Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South).

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Candidates from other parties were not present at the meeting.

According to the NUT, on a national level schools will see their funding cut by £3bn a year by 2020.

At the meeting, Amanda Martin laid out the need for unity among those who are in the education sector.

She said: ‘It is not just the trade unions who are demonstrating against these cuts. Councillors, local MPs and even parents are starting to get involved, and that is really important.

‘The government is calling for a fairer funding system, but what this means is that instead of just giving funding to schools that need it, money is being taken out of schools in bigger cities, such as Portsmouth, so that it can be distributed.

‘For example, there is now one school in the city that doesn’t give students the choice over what they take for their GCSEs, because they don’t have the funding for specialist teachers and the additional exams.

Schools are no longer about education – they are about being a business.’

Portsmouth South candidate Stephen Morgan echoed Amanda Martin’s calls for further education funding, stating that instead of cutting £3bn a year, the education system should instead see £5.6bn invested over the course of the next parliament.

He explained: ‘I spent my childhood years in comprehensive schools across Portsmouth, so to me this is an issue that is incredibly personal.

‘We have got to recognise that it is about engaging with schools and working with them to create a rich educational environment.

Teachers Charlotte Lawrence and Laura Chisholm also spoke about the real issues teachers face on a daily basis.

They said: ‘The funding is already so low that we have to go into our own pockets for certain things at school, such as glue sticks and pens.

‘In some cases, teachers are paying for food for the children – that’s how bad things are now.’