Local councillors in Oval have urged the government to reconsider their plans for deep cuts to the education budget and to force all local schools to become academies, as part of Lambeth Labour's campaign to protect local schools.
The petition was launched earlier this year in response to a plan by ministers to make every school in England become an academy irrespective of the views of local parents. At the same time, the government also confirmed plans to change education funding, which would have left Lambeth schools facing a budget reduction of 20%. Under pressure from local councils like Lambeth, the government has temporarily put on hold both reforms – but is still determined to push ahead with them in the future.
Lambeth Labour has helped deliver real improvements to local schools, with every child in a primary school now having a free school breakfast and Lambeth moving in the top 10% of boroughs nationally for performance, with 90% of primary schools getting a good or outstanding rating recently.
But recent government proposals have threatened to put a lot of this at risk. Academies may deliver benefits in some areas, but removing schools from local authority oversight is a big decision that should be made in discussions with parents, not just forced on an area. And steep funding cuts are the last thing that local schools need.
Under pressure, the government has put off the cut – but only for a year and despite changes to its legislation the government clearly still intends to push academisation forward. Lambeth Labour passed a motion condemning both moves at a recent council meeting and we need to keep up the pressure in the months ahead. So we would strongly urge all residents to sign our local petition against these changes: we must ensure that these damaging proposals are not pushed in through the back door.