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From Ilkley Gazette, 26th October 2017
Written by Claire Lomax

 A PETITION protesting against funding cuts in Wharfedale schools has been presented to John Grogan, MP for Ilkley. It came ahead of a lobby of parliament on Tuesday when over a thousand parents from across England descended on Westminster to lobby their own MPs to ask them to tell the Chancellor to come up with the funding schools need.

 The Wharfedale petition, organised by campaign group Fair Funding for All Schools Wharfedale, has been signed by hundreds of local parents since it was launched at Ben Rhydding Primary School in June.

Parents are angry school funding has failed to keep pace with rising pupil numbers and inflation, meaning that 88 per cent of schools across the country, including schools in Wharfedale, will be seeing real terms cuts in their budget over the life of the current spending review from 2015 to 2020.

Vickie Kemp from Fair Funding for All Schools Wharfedale, the parent led campaign. She said: “We welcome the support of John Grogan MP who has listened to concerns from parents about cuts to school funding and will be actively seeking to reverse them in the lead up to the autumn budget. Because of this national campaign, education ministers now accept that we were right to raise our fears about school funding cuts. We now need the chancellor to do the same.”

Ilkley schools, like others around the country, are struggling to make ends meet. The net impact of the budget reduction 2017-19 is a loss of just under £1m across three primary schools and Ilkley Grammar School. This is on top of budget cuts that have already been made. Schools are having to make spending choices that put educational outcomes at risk. Parents are concerned that the spending squeeze is leading to cuts in teaching and support staff, cutbacks in school resources and specialist support for vulnerable and special needs pupils, a narrowing of the curriculum, the loss of extra-curricular activities and increasing class sizes.

The Fair Funding for all Schools campaign has been set up as a direct response to these cuts and aims to put pressure on the Government to reverse them.

John Grogan MP said: “This petition demands that all funding cuts be reversed, that per pupil funding is protected in real terms for the lifetime of this parliament and that no school will lose out because of any new funding formula. I will be presenting the petition on behalf of the people of Ilkley and Wharfedale in the House of Commons in the run up to November's budget. I think there is a real opportunity to secure increased funding for local schools because in a Parliament with no majority the Government needs to listen more.”

To keep in touch with the local campaign join the group on Facebook Fair Funding for all Schools Wharfedale and Twitter @fairfundwharfe.