Tower Hamlets headteachers and Mayor Unite to Condemn Government Education Cuts

  • Tower Hamlets schools set to lose over £33m as a result of Government funding changes
  • Cuts of up to £905 per pupil are equivalent to loss of 891 Tower Hamlets teachers
  • Mayor, teachers and Trade Unions join forces to fight Government’s school cuts


The Mayor has joined 74 headteachers from across the borough to condemn the Government’s planned education cuts. Writing in an open letter to the Secretary of State and all of the local declared parliamentary candidates, the  group which represents the local authority and almost all of the schools in the borough said the cuts would “punish pupils from the poorest areas and harm social mobility.”

The letter quotes National Union of Teachers (NUT) analysis which showed that proposed changes to the schools funding formula, growing cost pressures, and government budget cuts mean that schools in Tower Hamlets will have to save £33.2m by 2020 – the equivalent of a cut of £908 per pupil or 891 teachers. The Mayor warned that the Government’s plans risked “hollowing out” schools across the borough.

The headteachers and Mayor’s letter comes after the Council voted at its last meeting to support the campaign to challenge the unfair and deeply damaging cuts to schools in Tower Hamlets. The campaign to stop the educations cuts is also backed by local education unions including NUT, ATL, UNISON, GMB, NAHT and ASCL.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:

The impact of the proposed new funding formula is clear – to effectively punish schools and pupils from the poorest areas. This will mean schools which are already financially stretched having to make further cuts. In practice this risks meaning fewer teachers and teaching assistants in our schools, bigger classes and less support as a result. There is little doubt that being forced to cut staff will hit the quality of teaching our schools are able to offer.”

Headteacher of Thomas Buxton Primary School Lorraine Flanagan said:

“School and community leaders have been managing reductions to school funding for many years now but we can’t do it for much longer. This letter expresses the deeply felt frustration and concerns about the implications of yet more cuts to school funding. Our school budgets are becoming untenable and yet money is being wasted by central government on pet projects such as grammar schools and free schools. There is little evidence that any of these will have a positive impact on our children’s life chances. It’s unfair, unjust and has to stop.”

“Putting aside the debilitating impact it will have on many young people’s life chances, it is incredibly short term thinking to cut education funding given that these are the entrepreneurs and taxpayers of the future, particularly with Brexit looming.”

Cabinet member for Children’s Services, Cllr Rachael Saunders said:

Education cuts harm social mobility. We need to invest in our young people to help them succeed and reach their potential. That is why on top of schools funding, the council invests over £4m a year in youth services, the second highest amount in London, with yet more spent on other programmes for young people. 

“We know that investing in our young people is vital to their personal success and to our future as a borough and we will fight to protect the funding we know it takes to help realise the potential of our young people.”

NUT spokesperson, Alex Kenny, said:

"The amount of money our schools stand to lose is eye-watering, cuts on this scale are unprecedented. These cuts will damage education and life chances for our children. The proposal to take money from Tower Hamlets and give it to other people is wrong, the government should be putting more money into education so that all schools are funded fairly and stop robbing Peter to pay Paul. We are working with school staff, parents, governors, Mayor Biggs and councillors to stop these cuts and to defend education for the children of Tower Hamlets."

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