Schools cuts campaigners call on heads to defy election banner order

Posted On 13 Nov 2019 at 1:50 pm

Schools cuts campaigners are asking headteachers to defy a request to comply with council election rules and take down banners from outside schools.

The Save Our Schools campaign gave banners detailing how much money schools have lost since 2015, based on figures compiled by education unions, many of which were unfurled outside Brighton and Hove schools last month.

Now, the council has asked schools to remove them because of rules governing what local authorities and schools can say in the run-up to an election, commonly known as going into purdah.

A similar request was made ahead of the June 2017 snap election, but Save Our Schools says it was largely ignored by headteachers with no repercussions.

Campaigner Catherine Fisher said: “The request to take banners down is an attempt to shut down debate about the ongoing crisis in school funding when it should be high on the agenda for all political parties.

“This issue has not gone away, in fact for many schools the cuts are set to deepen next year. The figures on our banners are a statement of fact; these disturbing facts should not be hidden just because there is an election underway. We urge all head teachers to stand firm and keep banners up.”

Fellow campaigner Gemma Haley said:”We are not experts on purdah but the guidance we have seen says suggests that ‘The misuse and extension of the term purdah should not be used to curb free speech or stifle public debate’.

“We think the request to take down our banners does exactly that.”

A council spokesperson said: “National legal guidance says that in the pre-election period councils and schools should not publish or display any material containing views on any controversial issue which could be construed as supporting one political party or candidate over another.

“With this in mind we have advised our schools to remove publicity that may come under this description, including the SOS banners.”

  1. David Reply

    Heads would do well to consider that not all parents share their political views and that heads who peddle a party line do a disservice to their privileged position. If heads are party placemen and women, why should they not face being removed if their political opponents win office?

  2. Poor Richard Reply

    David would do well to consider that not everyone shares his delusional fantasy that headteachers are placed in post by the Communists. He should also consider that going on about it while his grandkids see their school skimp on vital resources then face closure, when the remedy of full funding was laid out clearly before him, is going to lead to a lonelier old age. He might also consider that – far from being some profound statement of principle – his ‘political beliefs’ amount to little more than wanting to spend his money on more fags and beer rather than paying the heating bill and roof repairs for his kid’s school. It’s not deep; it’s just the petty and selfish rant of a small man.

    • Rob Reply

      Then maybe we should put up banners letting parents know how the lax Labour approach to the public finances and our bankers (supported by most Tories) made the financial crash in 2008 worse here than in some countries (although better than in others) and how that still affects our public spending capacity (along with the EU rules put in place to keep the euro stable).
      It was the Labour chief secretary who left a note for his Tory successor saying sorry all the money’s gone. And it fell to the Tories to try to put the public finances on a better footing, with the same policies as Labour advocated, albeit to a slightly less stringent degree.

      • Poor Richard Reply

        Rob would do well to consider that I don’t give a brass monkey who isn’t giving my school enough money to fund the budget needs and stay solvent. I just want the money. If you don’t provide it, the school runs a negative budget and can be summarily closed and given to an academy chain. It’s all very well moaning about this or that politician. I blame them all. But I especially blame people like you, who use them as an excuse to do sweet fa about a situation staring you right in the face.

  3. Pat Reply

    Poor Richard makes a lot of assumptions in the ‘petty and selfish rant of a small man’ which he posted here. Poor fellow ought to have a lie down!

    • Poor Richard Reply

      Pat makes a lot of assumptions about me while patting themselves on the back about the assumption I made about Dave. I’ll simplify my point: Dave is either ill informed, deliberately ignoring the bleeding obvious, thick as a brick or a total c***who doesn’t give a damn. I don’t care which.

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