Urgency of prioritising education

The situation with rising energy costs in schools risks derailing the school system. This CTA is as critical as any we have asked you to do.


To: Your MP
CC: Liz Truss, elizabeth.truss.mp@parliament.uk
Rishi Sunak, rishi.sunak.mp@parliament.uk
James Cleverly, Secretary of State for Education, ministers@education.gov.uk
Will Quince, Schools Minister, ministers@education.gov.uk

Subject: Urgency of prioritising education

Dear All
During the pandemic, I have been appalled at the treatment of our children who too often bore the brunt of restrictions to protect adults. Many now agree that school closures were one of the most harmful policy interventions of modern times and a catastrophic mistake. The government and society have demanded vast educational, mental health, and physical health sacrifices from our children- yet are now refusing to repay them with even a modicum of investment in their education and recovery.

In 2021, the Education ‘Tsar’ Kevan Collins resigned because the government was not prepared to invest adequately in a recovery plan for young people. He described the £22 per pupil-equivalent offer as not “coming close to meeting the scale of the challenge”, and betraying an “undervaluation of the importance of education”. Since then, there has been a deafening silence about making good on children’s losses with genuine commitment, resources, and money.  👉 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jun/02/education-recovery-chief-kevan-collins-quit-english-schools-catch-up-row

If all this weren’t bad enough, now children’s schools are facing a devastating funding crisis with spiralling energy bills set to deplete pupils’ educational experience even further. Headteachers have described the situation as ‘heart-breaking’ and highlighted that cuts will be inevitable, including subjects and activities that pupils enjoy the most – music, sport, school trips – and which should be seen as critical in light of the serious mental health problems left in the wake of the pandemic. 👉 https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/aug/29/its-heartbreaking-englands-school-leaders-on-budget-shortfalls

Yet, this emergency for our children hasn’t even featured in the Conservative leadership discussions, reflecting the incredible disregard which has been displayed over the last 2 years and beyond. The new term begins next week. Without urgent action, our children will, at best, be facing a lessened school experience – further compounding the devastating effects of the last 2 years – and at worst be staring down the barrel of partial or full school closures. Given all that is now known of the essential nature of the school as a sanctuary for many children, this is an intolerable situation.

As a parent and a voter, I have had enough of this flagrant contempt for children. They deserve better. I appreciate the difficulties the country is facing, but it should not be our children, who once again bear the highest costs. We must make good on the deficits that we forced them to absorb as a society.

Education needs to be central to political discourse, not an afterthought. Our children’s futures must transcend party politics: a long-term, cross-party plan must be put in place to ensure that their education is prioritised and urgent help must be given to the education sector to prevent further erosion of children’s educational experience.

As my MP, please can you explain to me how you plan to advocate for young people, and:

  1. Secure urgent crisis funding for schools to cap or heavily subsidise their energy bills;
  2. Secure fully functioning, immediate recovery investment with Sir Kevan Collins’ proposed
    budget as the minimum reference level;
  3. Campaign to ensure that education is put on a long-term funding plan in the same way as
    healthcare, and prioritised for meaningful investment.