Hundreds march through central London in protest against 'unacceptable' cuts to school funding

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Hundreds of parents, children and teachers have marched through central London in protest against “unacceptable” cuts to school funding.

Jo Yurky, co-founder of the Fair Funding For All Schools campaign, claimed some schools were being forced to ask parents for money due to a lack of money.

She said she is aware of schools that have asked parents if they would be willing to make monthly payments of £20 to £50 or a one-off payment of £250.

The mother of two girls, who lives in Muswell Hill, North London, said: “I’ve discovered that schools near me were asking parents for money on a direct debit basis.”

“Money was so tight that they couldn’t balance their books unless they asked parents to give a regular donation on a monthly basis.”

The marchers pass through Westminster (AFP/Getty Images)

She said she was aware of another school which wrote to parents and suggested “a minimum amount could be £250” as a one-off payment.

She said parents are not angry at the schools, explaining: “Our issue is not with the schools for doing that. Our issue is why is there a problem? This is not a sustainable way to fund our schools. There is clearly a financial problem in our schools. And this is not a long-term solution to that.”

The marchers gathered in Whitehall Gardens at midday and walked to Parliament Square carrying placards and banners. One large banner carried the hashtag #schoolsjustwannahavefunds.

It also included a letter directed at Secretary for Education Justine Greening which said: “Our schools are facing a financial crisis.

“Please act now to ensure that our schools have the funding they need to continue providing high quality education for our children and young people.”

Young protesters waved placards and chanted (AFP/Getty Images)

Children held banners with messages such as “Up with schools, down with cuts” and “(Theresa) May I have a future?”

Ms Yurky said she was shocked into action on hearing that the local secondary school was increasing class sizes because of funding constraints when she was at the open day.

She told how the head teacher there said class sizes would be going up “because money’s tight”.

Ms Yurky earlier said: “Parents are deeply unhappy about the Government’s failure to adequately address the funding crisis facing our schools.

Campaigners called for an end to school cuts (AFP/Getty Images)

“Whilst the Government is busy saying nothing, damaging cuts are being made to our children’s education. This is unacceptable.

“We will continue to apply pressure to force the Government to provide an urgent remedy.

“We want increased investment in our schools so that our young people have the skills and knowledge they need and so that our future economy can reach its full potential.”

The Fair Funding For All Schools campaign is calling on the Government to immediately reverse cuts to school budgets that have taken place since 2015 and protect per pupil funding in real terms over the lifetime of this parliament.

It also calls on the Government to provide the additional funding needed to implement a school funding formula that increases funding for schools in comparatively poorly funded areas of England without cutting funding per pupil for schools in any other part of the country, so that no school loses out.

The campaign said analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that under current government spending plans, including the additional £4bn announced in the Conservative Party election manifesto, spending per pupil is set to decline by a further 3 per cent from 2017 to 2022, making a total 7 per cent reduction from 2015.

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