Worth Less? group hits out at Damian Hinds for refusing to discuss education cuts

The Worth Less? group is making it known that the education secretary is refusing to meet with members to discuss funding cuts, according to The Guardian

The Worth Less? campaign group has contacted over 7,000 school heads across the country to inform them that Damian Hinds is refusing to meet with it to discuss funding cut struggles.

The group has sent out letters stating that its efforts to speak to Hinds have been rebuffed thrice now.

Worth Less? also wants parents to lobby their local MPS for more money to help schools and has sent over three million letters home with school pupils detailing its attempts to speak with the education secretary.

“When thousands of moderate headteachers are all saying that we can’t balance the books, and cuts continue to vital curricular and pastoral services, it’s extraordinary that the Department for Education (DfE) is unwilling to meet,” said Jules White, a Worth Less? organiser and head teacher.

The letter to parents states: ‘We have written to the secretary of state for education on three separate occasions since September 2018. We are dismayed that he has chosen to ignore our communications and repeated requests to meet.’

It goes on to say that any requests to see Hinds or other ministers were turned down immediately. ‘I hope you will understand that their time is heavily pressurised and their diaries need to be prioritised according to ministerial, parliamentary and constituency business,’ Worth Less? was told in the first response letter.

Worth Less? said, in its letter, that a meeting with Hinds was necessary ‘to reflect the serious concerns expressed by families’ over cuts, plus rising concerns over the impact of austerity through cuts to services previously supported by local councils.

The letter also details the funding problems that state schools in England face; since 2010, budgets have been reduced (on average) by eight per cent in real terms, with cuts of 20% in funding for sixth form and post-16 students.

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“Heads want meaningful reassurance that the DfE understands the scale of our concerns and has a credible plan going forward,” White said.

“We fear that there is a ‘backs to the wall’ state of denial from ministers and a refusal to meet the very people who are dealing with the crisis on a day-to-day basis is untenable.

“At every stage headteachers have sought to be part of the solution and with a critical spending review upcoming our political masters should be engaging with us rather than acting in a manner that says that our united voice is meaningless.”

While the DfE did not respond to questions over why Hinds had not met with the Worth Less? campaigners, it did insist that school funding is at its highest ever level.

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