Yesterday in the House of Commons, Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham, secured a commitment from Local Government Minister Luke Hall to meet with her about the government’s failure to financially support schools through the Covid pandemic. Munira will directly raise the plight of local schools which have faced increased costs from making classrooms Covid-secure.
The government has repeatedly avoided requests for additional funding and has suggested schools in difficulty should approach their local authority.
Following securing the meeting, Munira Wilson said:
“Many primary schools in Twickenham are struggling with the double-whammy of the costs of making their sites Covid-secure and the lost income from lettings and fundraising.
“The government needs to step up and provide dedicated funding to councils to support schools in financial difficulty.
“I will continue to press the government to provide these much-needed funds and protect our children as schools reopen.”
Cllr Robin Brown the Finance and Resources Lead Member for Richmond Council highlighted the scale of the problem:
“Many schools locally have told us about the challenges of dealing with Covid - extra costs are not fully covered by government funding and normal fundraising activities have not been able to take place, leaving a hole in school finances.
“For some schools, this situation is becoming unmanageable and more money is essential to plug growing deficits. Funding schools is the responsibility of the Department for Education and they should not be trying to pass this off to hard-pressed local authorities.
“Like most councils, the cost of dealing with the pandemic exceeds the grant funding we have been given, in our case by around £5m. It’s time the government recognised the costs of what they are expecting schools to do.”
– from Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham