Ursuline Catholic Primary School in Sefton, to the north of Liverpool, has been at the centre of controversy of the last few weeks after the school put up a banner showing the huge cuts imposed on schools in the area by the Tories – and the Tories tried to bully them into taking it down by threatening planning application laws and claiming ‘purdah’ rules against ‘political interference’ during election campaigns made them illegal:
However, the attempt backfired badly – because:
- while the school temporarily took the banner down, the move drew wide attention to the banners and to the issue of cuts
- as the SKWAWKBOX can exclusively reveal, the banners are now back up and in full view of parents
- and, as the SKWAWKBOX can also exclusively reveal, the move has prompted the area’s head teachers to work together to publicise the cuts going forward
Local Labour MP Bill Esterson said of the attempted ban:
It is political interference by the Tories that is cutting £7.3 million from our children’s education. Stop these Tory cuts to our schools.
Glen Williams, branch secretary of Sefton Unison branch, told the SKWAWKBOX:
The Conservative councillors didn’t put a complaint in writing, they turned up at the school and told the head the banner had to come down because of the purdah period and because it needed planning permission, which it didn’t have.
Mark (McQueen, the school’s head) took it down while he took advice from the council, but they advised him no planning permission was needed and, as Ursuline isn’t a local authority school, purdah doesn’t apply.
The banner’s now back up and although it’s in a slightly different position it’s still clearly visible to all the parents when they drop their kids off or pick them up.
Not only that, but the attempt to censor the information prompted the heads of all the local schools to meet. They’ve agreed that, once the election is over they’ll all be writing to the parents of every pupil to tell them about the damage the Tories are doing to our kids’ education.
And the banner being in the news has driven demand for more banners sky-high – I’m getting hourly requests now.
Around 750,000 people changed their voting plans at last year’s General Election because of the government’s school cuts.
If you want to see how the Tories cuts have affected your local school, visit schoolcuts.org.uk.
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