Concern about education has reached its highest level since September 2016, an IpsosMORI poll reveals. The poll, which took place between 5 and 15 May, showed a strong rise in concern about education since April. Education is now seen as the third most important issue behind the NHS and Brexit.
A separate poll run by YouGov on behalf of the National Union of Teachers confirmed the findings of IpsosMORI: education and school funding was the third key issue among parents with children aged 4-18. Parents in the south of England outside London placed education and school funding as the second most important while parents in London and Scotland put education and funding at fourth place.
41% of parents thought schools were already in a ‘fair amount of financial difficulty while 27% believed schools were experiencing a ‘great deal of financial difficulty’.
Nearly seven-in-ten parents, then, think schools are experiencing some degree of financial difficulty NOW. This is likely to increase when the real-terms cut in funding bites even deeper. Providing breakfasts worth 7p to primary pupils will not compensate for class size rises, staff losses, pared-back subjects and increasingly run-down school buildings.
And parents aren’t likely to be impressed by the suggestion from schools minister Nick Gibb that schools can cope with reduced funding by renegotiating the photocopier contract and switching energy supplier.
Such crass advice is rather like suggesting the Titanic could have been saved if the crew had been supplied with larger buckets to bail out the bilge.
Parents see schools struggling NOW. They see their children affected NOW. And they are willing to use their vote in favour of candidates who promise to tackle education and school funding. 83% said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supported tackling education and school funding*. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said in May:
‘Labour plan to spend significant amounts of additional money on education as compared with current government plans.’
The choice is clear: more education spending under Labour; less under the Conservatives.
Find out whether your school will face funding cuts here.
*44% much more likely; 29% little more likely.