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Hundreds in Chester protest against government education cuts

Teachers, parents and students gathered at The Cross to oppose government plans

Teachers, politicians, grandparents, parents and students joined a protest in Chester city centre to oppose government funding cuts in schools.

About 250 people gathered by The Cross to demonstrate against a new national funding formula which is meant to lead to a fairer distribution of resources between schools but has been heavily criticised.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) says Cheshire West and Chester is already one of the 40 worst funded education authorities and 14th worst-hit by these cuts out of 152 authorities in England.

NUT divisional secretary Greg Foster, a teacher at Upton-by-Chester High School, speaking at the 'Stop School Cuts' rally in Chester on Saturday (March 25).

NUT divisional secretary Greg Foster, a teacher at Upton-by-Chester High School , who spoke at the rally, said: “The 2015 Conservative manifesto said ‘We will continue to protect school funding’ and ‘Under a future Conservative government, the amount of money following your child in to school will be protected’.

“Even more money is being taken out of school budgets as the government claws back higher pension and NI contributions from schools. As well as the possibility of a shorter week for children, these cuts will definitely lead to fewer teachers in schools, fewer support staff and fewer subject choices for children.

Campaigners attended the 'Stop School Cuts' march at The Cross in Chester on Saturday (March 25).

"It is simply not fair to make children suffer for the government’s inability to balance the budget!Schools in CWaC will be £24,354,259 worse off by 2019/20 than they were in 2015/16.”

Cheshire West and Chester Labour councillor Nicole Meardon, cabinet member for children and families, also addressed the crowd along with Chester MP Chris Matheson , Unison’s Keith Bradley, Neston Primary Schoo l headteacher Rob Golding and teaching assistant Sarah Scott from Little Sutton .

Cllr Nicole Meardon (right), cabinet member for children and families, supporting parents at Kelsall Primary School who recently held a protest against the cuts organised by Jo Warner with her children Elodie, Harry and Sam and Amanda Alexander with her son Freddie.

Cllr Meardon said: “It was a fantastic event. We had lots of people who came along to support the protest – teachers, headteachers, teaching assistants, parents, grandparents, students and pupils. Everyone was delighted to show their support for the campaign and opposition to the cuts in our schools.”

The Sutton ward councillor has been lobbying government but isn’t hopeful ministers at the Department for Education are listening.

■ Visit schoolcuts.org.uk to find out how the proposed cuts could hit your local school.

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