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Parents fear school closures due to education cuts

Hundreds of parents, grandparents and carers of pupils at St Jerome’s Catholic Primary School in Formby have written to the Prime Minister to oppose cuts to education budgets.

Headteacher Kathy Monaghan invited Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson to the school to receive the letters to pass on to the Government.

Mr Esterson has now received a total of more than 1,000 letters from concerned residents opposing cuts, which will see Sefton schools lose £7.4m by 2020. Mr Esterson said: “Headteachers are telling me just how damaging these cuts are becoming. Staff being made redundant or placed on temporary contracts. I’m being told that good staff are leaving school work altogether because of the lack of security in the jobs.”

The parents’ letter, addressed to the PM Theresa May, Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Education Minister Nick Gibb, states that the quality of children's education was being seriously harmed by cuts.

St Jerome’s parents wrote: “Our school is a one-form entry primary school. It is currently full, so there is no scope to gain further funding by increasing pupil numbers. Staff have worked very hard over the years to make efficiency savings, negotiating hard on contracts and there is little they can do now to make further savings.”

It goes on: “Our school’s reserves, which have always been minimal as we have had to spend most of our annual allocation, will be wiped out during the next financial year. Our concern is that the Government is putting such financial pressure on small primary schools so that they will no longer be financially viable and will have to merge with larger schools to ensure greater ‘efficiency’ in the system.

“Unfunded increases to Sefton Schools would equate to the loss of over 130 teachers across Sefton, or approximately 370 support workers. We feel that pay increases for the staff in our children’s schools are fully deserved, but if they are unfunded by government, this would put schools in a position where standards would be seriously compromised. “As parents, we do not feel that the amount of funding allocated is fair to schools.”

Mr Esterson, who has also written to the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, asking him to consider the impact of Conservative cuts and calling for the cuts to be reversed, added: “For so many parents to write to the PM on the issue of education funding is surely unprecedented. I have seen hundreds of these letters and there are probably many more that have not been copied to me. The level of concern is enormous. I have heard from several headteachers about just how tough the budget pressures are becoming, with many many schools looking to make staff redundant.

“Schools are being put in an impossible position by the government which is rightly demanding the very highest of standards but not putting the funding in place to provide that. I have written to the Education Minister to voice my concerns but have yet to receive a response."

PICS show: Bill with St Jerome’s parents Paula Seddon (with glasses) and Louise Heywood at St Jerome’s Primary School who handed over hundreds of letters from parents and grandparents; the letters handed over by St Jerome's school

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