Islington school funding: Government U-turn proves we can make a difference, say parent and teacher campaigners

Families from across Islington descended on Parliament Square for a national protest against cuts to

Families from across Islington descended on Parliament Square for a national protest against cuts to education. - Credit: Archant

A campaign group formed to defend schools from education cuts has hailed the impact of parents and teachers in forcing the government to better protect funding for students across Islington.

On Monday education secretary Justine Greening pledged to give schools in England an extra £1.3billion from the existing education pot over the next two years in an effort to “raise standards, promote social mobility and give every child the best possible education”.

Ms Greening’s announcement in the House of Commons came the day after Islington families descended on Parliament Square as part of a national “picnic protest” against the funding shortage.

According to the Institute for Fiscal studies, the extra money is more generous than promised in the Conservative manifesto in the run-up to the General Election and will freeze average school budgets over the next two years.

Protecting funding for individual students appears to have been met – for the next two years at least – with Ms Greening confirming that the per pupil funding limit will be set in secondary schools at £4,800.

A spokesman for the Islington branch of Fair Funding for All Schools said: “It is great to see the government finally accepts there is a need for more schools funding.

“This is an amazing turnaround from the state of delusion and denial ministers were in just a few months ago. A testament to the power of our campaigning. The way we forced school funding to become a pivotal election issue sent shockwaves through the government.”

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Despite the group insisting the announcement can only be seen as “positive news”, doubts remain over the fact the extra funding will be taken from elsewhere in the schools budget, with free schools likely to be hit hardest.

The group added: “We are concerned this is not new treasury money. It will be a heroic task for the Department for Education to find savings of that order without impacting on schools somewhere down the line.

“Is it a complete remedy? Far from it. We need to be vigilant. We need to press the case for investing in our schools. And while we have clearly persuaded education ministers, we may still need to change minds at the treasury.”