Black Country and Staffordshire schools in call for extra funding

Schools in the West Midlands were today demanding extra funding after suffering more than half a billion pounds in cuts over four years.

Around 200 schools across the region were expected to take part in a protest against budget cuts, which campaigners claim has cost the region £556.7 million since 2015.

They claim a recent Government pledge to give West Midlands schools an extra £175m over the next year does not come close to covering the shortfall.

Figures from the National Education Union show Staffordshire has been hit by £60.1m in cuts, with 320 schools affected.

A total of 371 schools were impacted across the Black Country. Sandwell saw £43.5m cuts over the same period, while budgets were slashed by £33.5m in Wolverhampton, £30m in Walsall and £27.3m in Dudley.

Today nearly 200 schools across the West Midlands were set to display banners demanding a real terms increase in school budgets.

According to parents campaign group Save Our Schools, the government’s recent announcement of increased funding is “too little too late”.

'Misleading'

This summer it emerged that around 20 schools in Birmingham had started closing early on Fridays.

Kate Taylor, of Save Our Schools West Midlands, said: “Schools in the West Midlands are overwhelmed by years of real terms cuts.

“They have stopped buying resources, staff have lost their jobs and most worryingly some schools are closing early on Fridays because schools simply can’t afford to stay open.

“Children with special education needs and disabilities are struggling to get the support they need and many are now out of education altogether as schools cannot provide the bespoke education they need. The promise of money next year is utterly misleading for the public and we want to get that message across today. It is far too little and it is far too late. We must continue to fight for fully funded schools for all our children.”

The group says that the government’s proposed £7 billion increase in schools spending by 2022-23 is actually £4.3bn in real terms – less than funding levels were in 2010.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said: “Since 2009-10, school spending per pupil has fallen by eight per cent in real-terms in England. The new spending plans should be near enough sufficient to reverse these cuts by 2022-23.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has prioritised schools funding since he took over in July. The South Staffordshire MP says money has been “tight” for many schools but fresh investment would address any issues.

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