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Featured image credits: Jon Osborne and Birchall /PA

Yesterday the Education Secretary Justine Greening announced what seemed like a u-turn over the Tories’ £3 billion per year funding cuts to schools, pledging an ‘extra £1.3Bn’ to schools.

However, the move has come under fire from the heads of teaching unions who branded the “extra” funding Tory “smoke and mirrors”.

Even the corporately funded IFS think tank have pointed out that, at best, this is a near 5% cut in real terms.

Greening claimed that schools would receive an “extra £1.3 billion” over the next two years, however, this will come at the expense of funding for programs such as “healthy pupils” which will see a £420 million reduction to pay for this alleged extra funding.

However, the Tories will still press ahead with their plans to fund and build 140 new schools, many of which will still be of the fraudulent and elitist free school variety – schools that regularly trace back to Tory donors or members of the party who make millions out of them.

Billions have already been spent by the Tories on what is, essentially, yet another taxpayer handout to their upper middle-class voters and rich Tory pals. 

One example illustrates quite clearly why the Tories are so eager to fund these free schools:

The former Tory Party Vice Chairman Alan Lewis is expected to pocket £6 million leasing the land that one of these fraudulent free schools is built on in Bradford. The same school that was trumpeted by former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron as being a flagship model when it opened in 2011, shortly thereafter 3 members of staff were convicted of committing fraud on an epic scale.

It’s quite clear from the Tories’ extravagant free-school programme that funding is readily available to pay excessive corporate executives.

Even the IFS says the Tories are lying

This supposed extra funding has even come under fire from the neoliberal, corporately funded think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), who have pointed out that this amounts to a real term cut of nearly 5% to school funding over the next 4 years, and that the actual amount of extra funding is around £884 million.

Speaking on this morning’s Radio 4’s Today program, Luke Sibiesta from the IFS, and Kevin Courtney, the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, discussed the impact that these real terms cuts would have on schools, class sizes, quality of education, teacher retention and many other issues at the heart of the current Tory manufactured education crisis.

Courtney said that while he welcomes the extra funding, he believes that the Tories are using a “smoke and mirrors act” — to make it seem as if they’re actually funding schools properly.

Schools have already suffered the “deepest cut since 1950’s” according to another IFS report in 2010, which calculated that schools would lose 14.4% between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

They also pointed out that under 5’s and 16-19 year old would be the worst hit, losing out on average by 20%.

So, even if all the planned cuts were reversed and schools were funded as experts say they should be — with around an extra £2 billion a year — they would still be suffering massively from 7 years of Tory cuts.

Long time Labour supporter, comedian, actor and activist Steve Coogan recently joined a national campaign called “Save Our Schools”.

Here, he speaks with the founder of the campaign Alison Ali about the damage the Tories are doing to the future of our children.

The endless Tory assault on education has little to do with savings that need to be made and austerity. Just as with all Tory austerity what they are really doing is cutting from the many and giving to the few.

As Coogan points out, almost the same amount of money being cut from the state education system is being pumped into free schools and May’s grammar school obsession.

The result: poorer children end up with the most basic education it is possible to imagine. Children from a middle-class background, however, are able to take advantage of this very clear two tier system, and they receive a much broader education as a result.

We already live in a country that is deeply divided along class lines. A shocking report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in 2015 about social mobility found that a less-able 5 year old born in a middle-class household has a 35% greater chance of succeeding in the professions, acquiring wealth etc, than a gifted 5 year old born into poverty.

Public schools are yet another way in which we are divided not along lines of intellect or hard work, but purely by class.

The top jobs in this country – from the journalists to politicians – are overwhelmingly filled by people who attended private schools — but whom make up just 7% of the population.

Jeremy Corbyn’s modest proposal to tax these private schools was met was a horrific media smear campaign which painted him as the devil incarnate. The response by the mainstream media — uniformly from left to right over the policy was shocking, especially as the tax would’ve been used to fund a meal for every child in the country.

Yet, the clear answer to school funding is simply to tax those that can afford it a little more, and to get rid of the divisive, expensive, fraudulent free schools model.

Whether or not you even have children, education should form a vital part of any decent society.

Well, we all know by now that the Tories definitely do not want a decent society.

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