Schools join nationwide demonstrations to urge Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education to make more money available in Autumn Budget.

GTS headteacher Tracey Amos (third from left) and deputy headteacher Jacqui Whiteman (fifth from left) with pupils from the school during protest.GTS headteacher Tracey Amos (third from left) and deputy headteacher Jacqui Whiteman (fifth from left) with pupils from the school during protest.

Pupils, teachers, parents and governors in Torrington have linked arms around their schools in protest of ‘real-term cuts’ to education funding.

Both Great Torrington School (GTS) and Great Torrington Bluecoat Junior School joined in nationwide protests on Thursday.

Their message was a united one to Chancellor Phillip Hammond and education secretary Justine Greening: give schools more money in next month’s Autumn Budget.

At GTS, all pupils and staff formed a barrier around the Calvesford Road site, while at Bluecoats, parents, pupils and staff linked arms chanting ‘no ifs, not buts, no education cuts’.

Data from the website suggests that despite a 2.4 per cent increase in baseline funding, GTS could see a reduction in its budget of £279 per pupil by 2020 in real terms.

Headteacher Tracey Amos said the current state of funding was the worst she had known in 30 years of teaching.

“I’ve not known school funding like this in all my time,” she said.

“The national funding formula is being sold as giving money to schools, but it’s hitting other funding streams.

“There’s an inadequate level of funding in education and also an inequality of funding across the country.

“All schools are struggling with funding, but some schools have been under-funded for years and are struggling even more and no longer know what to do.

“Parents need to ask why their kids’ education and life chances should be worth so much less than kids in other countries, and that’s the message we want to put out.”

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The revised national funding formula would see the Bluecoats receive one per cent more in baseline funding.

Fair Funding for all Schools Devon campaigner and Bluecoats governor Siobhan Strode said the revised formula was ‘smoke and mirrors’.

She said: “The extra money announced on September 14 amounts to no more than smoke and mirrors: taking money from other budgets within the Department for Education, such as healthy meals and sports provision and still leaving 90 per cent of schools facing real-terms cuts.

“For our children this means fewer qualified teachers, the loss of valuable teaching assistants, soaring class sizes, the loss of enrichment activities in schools and a narrowing curriculum.

“Our children only get one chance at their education and we can’t stand by and watch this happen.”