27 March 2017

H&F Conservatives look both ways on school funding

More on the naughty attempts by H&F Conservatives to pretend to residents they're against government plans to cut our schools' budgets while actually backing the cuts. 

Councillor Caroline Ffiske is the H&F Conservative opposition's spokesperson on education. On Tuesday, she made out to residents the Conservatives were on their side. On Wednesday, she revealed their true colours.

This is what happened. Save our Schools held a meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall on 28 February to rally support for a campaign by parents, teachers, governors and the council against the government’s plans to cut funding to H&F’s schools by 3 per cent.

The government cuts would pile further pressure on schools already grappling with escalating costs. This is why parents, teachers, governors and pupils across the whole borough are protesting.

At the meeting, Caroline Ffiske was keen to give the impression she opposed the cuts. She said:

“Obviously here in Hammersmith and Fulham, we’re one of the losers by 3 per cent so please email me. I’ve brought my card. Everyone who emails me, I promise I will forward your email to [Education Secretary] Justine Greening’s staff, and to Greg Hands MP and really help build up a voice here in Hammersmith & Fulham to say…let’s aim high and let’s level up funding.”

Yet the next morning, the same Councillor Ffiske showed her true colours by blogging a completely different message.

She started with this eccentric comment: Last night I attended the LBHF Save our Schools rally where the Labour Council committed to fight against fairness in school funding. (Labour against fairness – hurray!)

She then vigorously defended the government’s schools cuts programme, describing it as "great", "transparent" and "truly fair".

And she feebly advised residents to make useless peripheral recommendations on “weightings” for the “funding formula” – nothing that would go anywhere near stopping the tsunami about to hit H&F schools.

If Conservative councillors choose to back the Conservative government against local parents, schools and pupils, while we disagree with them, we accept that’s their honest view.

But for the Conservative education spokesperson to describe H&F schools in the evening as "losers" from the government's plans and then in the morning praise the "great" plans is something no-one should accept.

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