Teachers, parents and children join protest

By Steve Peacock in Education

King Edward VI Community College in Totnes is already making “horrible” and “painful” decisions in the face of existing cash cuts – and it is going to get much worse, principal Alan Salt has warned.

Students are already worried about cuts in courses, parents are concerned about growing class sizes and staff are worried about the future of their jobs, Mr Salt told more than 200 people following Saturday’s education cuts protest march through Totnes.

And he added: “To run the school this year we are having to make significant cuts. Look two years down the line, it is going to get worse – and it gets worse incredibly quickly.

“The expression everything falls off a cliff is fair and we don’t have an answer.”

He said: “We need action now and we need a resolution to this problem going forward.”

According to education union figures, Kevicc will be some £360,000 worse off over the next two years while schools across Devon, will be worse off by a massive £35m.

Around 250 people gathered on The Plains in Totnes on Saturday morning to take part in a protest march organised by concerned Kevicc parents.

The placard-wielding protesters chanted as they marched through the town’s main street to collect on The Rotherfold, where they were addressed by Mr Salt.

He said the college was part of campaign now involving some 17 local authority areas and some 4,000 head teachers.

He warned the crowd that the current situation was “untenable” and “unsustainable”, as he urged people to share their protest message as widely as possible.

“This is something that is going to affect you. We are reliant on the generations coming forward and having the chances that we had.”

Parent Helen Betham warned that the funding cuts would be “devastating” in a county where education was already underfunded.

“I chose to live in Totnes because it is a town that values what we have in common,” she said.

She pointed out the cuts were being made at a time when there was still “plenty of money” to spend on new free schools and grammar school.

Torbay and South Devon National Union of Teachers co-ordinator and teacher Alex Moore warned that education across the country would be £3bn worse off – a cut of £402 per primary school pupil and £554 per secondary school pupil.

He warned that schools were already resorting to asking parents to contribute cash to help keep their schools going and one was even asking for donations of toilet rolls and stationery.

Teachers in Durham were already going on strike, he warned. “The inescapable fact is that if we do not get change the NUT will be realistically forced to take strike action.”

Add Comment

Add Your Comment

You don't need an account to leave a comment

By posting your comment you agree to our T & C