Rally Against School Cuts

 

Students, children, parents, teachers and support staff joined local members in a march and rally organised by South-East Cornwall Labour on 3rd November. Following the speeches local students and school pupils posted the Labour Party’s petition through local Conservative MP Sheryll Murray’s office door, asking her to take up the cause of fair funding for schools with the government. You can watch videos of the march and all the speeches by following the link here, or click on the links below for the individual speakers.

JennJennifer Forbes, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Truro & Falmouth: “Teachers in Cornwall, who are amazing, and struggle in the face of such adversity to give our children the very best chance they can, deserve our utmost thanks and praise. But that is not enough. We need fair funding for schools, so that teachers can work their proper hours, on decent pay, with enough support staff, and with all the materials they need to provide the standard of education that they want to give to our children. That’s why I’m so proud that Labour have promised to bring per-pupil funding in Cornwall up to at least the national average.”

Rich Clarke, local teaching assistant: “The funding crisis means that at my school we’ve Richlost 10% of the teachers; and we’ve gone from 27 down to 6 teaching assistants… Pupils are also suffering from an exam factory culture; pressure is exerted from the government through schools to our kids. Because of the emphasis placed on academic results, pupils in the lower sets often have internalised the idea that they’re stupid… Children are being set up to fail: no wonder depression and anxiety have increased by 70%. We need to fund schools properly, bring joy back into education, and, crucially, allow teachers to educate, not just teach to the test.”

CorinneCorinne Lamoureux, teacher and National Education Union activist: “I know of schools in this constituency where they have had class sizes of 38. I am aware of schools in this constituency where they have been told to be careful how much toilet paper they are using! That’s the reality of school cuts in this area…. Teachers are leaving the profession in droves … this is a government that has seen teaching become, according to the Health and Safety Executive, the most stressful profession in the United Kingdom.”

Thomas Chauhan, sixth-form student: “Further education and sixth-form colleges are in Thomasthe midst of a funding crisis… so what does this mean for students like me? A narrowing down of the curriculum. Less choices available… I know personally of students who were forced to study subjects they didn’t want to, purely because funding constraints meant sixth forms in the area have no longer been able to provide them. Some have to travel all the way to Exeter. For others this is simply unaffordable…Lack of truly local education will only discourage students; making it harder for Cornwall to climb out of the cycle of deprivation.”

HelenHelen Leon, teacher in Liskeard: “I’ve taught children coming up to exams who have to move and move again because their tenancies are not secure… This summer we fed families at our school…. I remember one girl I teach, thirteen years old, taking food home for her parents. One of my very close friends works supporting children and teenagers with mental health issues, and the picture there is desperate. It’s wicked and it’s inhumane. What makes me angry is that the underlying message from this government is that our children don’t matter…”

Kerry Cassidy, local parent: “My son goes to Hillfort. Their future is now uncertain. TheyKerry are now in deficit and we don’t know who will take over…. I want all children to be included. I want the children with special needs to be integrated. What is going to happen to those children who have special needs now if there’s not money to teach them? I want all children to be taught equally and to have the same opportunities…. We need to stop these cuts!”

PaulPaul Farmer, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Camborne, Redruth & Hayle: “the Conservatives have come up with a scheme which they claim will redress the funding imbalances – and then cap it, so it does not, and it can not! …Labour’s National Education Service is the NHS for our minds and our lives. It will transform life in this country. We need an education service that does not drive out our teachers, our dedicated teachers who find they just cannot do this job any more, it’s been ruined around them. We need our schools to come back from being privatised academies – under democratic control, and democratic accountability.”

 

(Photos and videos by James Carty and Lesley Rickard)