The financial position of East Riding schools is becoming an increasingly controversial topic in the campaign leading up to the general election on 7 May 2015.
In spite of the previous Conservative Member of Parliament, Graham Stuart, holding the position of Chair of the Education Select Committee, the county’s schools are now the worst funded in the entire country receiving half the money per pupil received by the top-funded City of London authority.
The consequences of this underfunding are already being felt by staff and students as head teachers struggle in the face of schools falling £12 million into the red over the next three years.
One of the first casualties of the inevitable cuts that are likely to follow if this continues has been the librarian at the Beverley High School which only recently received a rating of ‘outstanding’ from Ofsted.
Margaret Pinder, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Beverley and Holderness, who is herself a published author of children’s books, spoke out angrily at the loss of the library, she said;
“”Books change students lives. It seems unthinkable that a school of the calibre of Beverley High School is put in a position where it has to close its library and lay off its librarian.”
“I know this decision will have been a very difficult and painful one for Head, Sharon Japp. When my daughter attended the school, she loved the library and she and the other students had a terrific relationship with the librarian there.”
“I myself donated a large number of books to the library including signed copies of my own books and I am appalled that this facility will no longer be available to the students.”
“However, faced with a choice of laying off teaching staff or cutting these vital support staff, what is responsible head teacher supposed to do?”
Speaking last month, Ms Japp, echoed the sentiments:
“Funding is very difficult in the East Riding. It means you have to look at your curriculum offer, you have to look at your class sizes, you have to look at your staffing.”
“What we want is a fair funding formula. We have been promised it for years and it has not happened. We want to be funded fairly, at the same rate as the national average – we are not asking for more than that.”