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Gordon meets Blackpool Head teacher to discuss funding cuts to resort's schools


Gordon has met up with local head and vice-president of the National Association of Head Teachers Andy Mellor at Westminster to discuss concerns about Government funding as well as other local education issues.

Andy Mellor (pictured), who is the head at St Nicholas Primary in Blackpool, was down in Parliament for the lobby by NAHT (who represent nearly 30,000 school leaders across the UK) to highlight in advance of the Chancellor's November 22nd Budget the looming crisis in school budgets which has seen £2.8 billion cut away from them by the Government since 2015.

Gordon said: "It was good to catch up with Andy - I know both him and St Nicholas well from past visits - it's a great, innovative school, not least for its community involvement of the pupils, especially on green and sustainable issues. What Andy and teachers across Blackpool are now worrying about - and I as a Shadow Education Minister am acutely aware of this crisis across England - is the continued failure of Theresa May's Government to fill the hole created in school budgets created since April 2015. Real terms funding per pupil has fallen and the independent National Audit Office has estimated that will represent an 8% cut by 2020.

"What that represents here in Blackpool as the campaign figures show is a total loss over all our schools of £1.8 million by that time - a loss of £107 per pupil and potentially 40 teachers going as well.
"The additional £1.8 billion put in by The Department for Education in July does not go anywhere near fixing the £2 billion schools need just to return to their 2015-16 levels. In addition Blackpool's schools have to face rises in National Insurance and pension costs for their staff, and their share of a £600 million cut nationally in the Education Services Grant, as well as inflation which has gone up from 0.3% just before the Brexit referendum to just under 3.0% currently.
"There are worries as well that if the Chancellor does not address these issues in his forthcoming budget that school heads may have to lose teaching assistants as well, and parents may face further requests for supporting core services which the Government should be funding. As Andy Mellor and other head teachers are saying, these cuts have gone beyond cutting surplus flesh, they now biting into the bone.

"Unless the Chancellor on Budget Day does something about what I, teachers and Labour's front bench have been saying about these funding gaps, then I'm afraid our Opportunity Area status in Blackpool, which our pupils and families desperately need to benefit from, will start off with one hand tied behind its back."


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