School funding protest march through Cambridge attracts hundreds
Shouts of “save our schools” rang out across the city yesterday as hundreds of parents and children marched to the Guildhall to protest school funding cuts.
The rally was organised by parents at St Matthew’s Primary School where the head has been told they will face a £60,000 cut to the school budget in September.
Children from the primary school led the protest, many wearing fancy dress and waving banners as they marched from Parker’s Piece to the market square.
Organised by local parents who have formed the Fund Our Schools campaign group, the march is thought to have attracted around 1,000 protestors.
Parent Donna Ferguson, who was one of the march organisers and member of the Fund Our Schools campaign, said: “I'm so proud of the many children who marched with us, most of whom attend primary schools in Cambridgeshire. They dressed up, made beautiful banners, blew whistles and shouted at the tops of their voices "Save our schools! Fund our schools", marching side by side with their parents and teachers to send a clear message to the government. At the end of the day, this is about children so their support and presence was crucial. Children have the right to a properly-funded education and in Cambridge they value that, unlike the government it seems.”
The march was organised for after school on April 1 to highlight the ‘foolish funding cuts’ to local schools that will see many unable to replace staff or buy basic supplies for classrooms.
St Matthew’s Primary School’s head, Tony Davies, was at the rally. He said: “The level of support has been overwhelming. We have people here from schools all over Cambridge. I have spoken to someone who came all the way from Royston to be here it just shows how important schools are to people.
We are working out what the impact the cuts will have at our school. It is really beginning to cut in to our core education now. We have been making efficiency savings for years and years. But now we have done as much as we can, just as have schools all over the country.”
School budgets have been cut by 8 percent since 2019 according to an analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
A spokesman for the county council said: "Cambridgeshire is one of the worst funded education authorities in England. The County receives £400 less per child than the average funded authority and £1600 less per child than Westminster. Through our calls for Fair Funding for Cambridgeshire and as part of the f40 campaign we are also working together with the 42 other lowest funded education authorities to put forward a new fair model for distributing education funding in England."
More by this authorAlex Spencer