Hello, I am Ibrahim Dogus, and I am one of the Labour councillors serving the people of Lambeth.
With the summer holidays nearly over, and term starting soon, I want to talk about our local schools.
Whenever I talk to parents, pupils, teachers and governors, I am always impressed by what they achieve together.
Our schools have seen real improvements over the years, and I know how hard pupils work, how dedicated the teachers are, and how committed the council is to giving every child the best possible start in life.
When I see all the hard work that goes into our local schools, I am very proud.
But teachers, parents and pupils are working with one hand tied behind their back.
Pupils are being let down.
Not every pupil is fulfilling their true potential.
Why is that?
The answer is simple.
Schools are struggling with cuts to their budgets, making it harder each year to deliver a world-class education for all.
Since 2015, the schools in the London Borough of Lambeth have seen £14 million cuts from their budgets by the Government.
And behind that headline is the reality for local kids:
- fewer teachers,
- less equipment and books,
- bigger classes,
- less attention to the needs of each child.
Let’s take some local examples:
Walnut Tree Walk Primary has seen a cut of £315 per pupil since 2015.
Vauxhall Primary has seen a cut of £459 per pupil since 2015.
Archbishop Sumner primary has seen a cut of £609 per pupil since 2015.
That means that no matter how hard the teachers and school staff work, there is not enough funding per pupil to go round.
It means teachers are leaving the profession.
And most importantly, a generation of kids is missing out on a decent education.
And never forget, we only get one chance to educate a child.
So if there was a Labour Government, what difference would we see?
Labour wants to create a unified National Education Service, available to all from cradle to grave, free for all.
We will invest in every school, reversing the Tory cuts.
We will cut class sizes to fewer than 30, for every 5,6, and 7 years old.
We will introduce free school meals for every child, so that no-one has to learn on an empty stomach, and every child is treated equally.
We will drive up standards, learning from the successful London Challenge introduced by a previous Labour Government.
We will make all schools accountable to local communities.
We will invest in school-based counselling services to improve mental health.
And we will value our teachers, making teaching an attractive and prestigious profession as it is in most other countries.
I believe if we invest in a National Education Service, invest in our schools and invest in our teachers, we can create a world-class education system here in Lambeth,
So that every pupil, no matter who they are or where they are from,
Can unlock their potential and be the best they can possibly be.
As a new term starts, I wish ‘good luck’ to every teacher, every parent, every pupil, and everyone who contributes to our schools.
Thank you for all that you do.
As a local Labour councillor, I am always keen to know what local people think.
If you have ideas about how to improve our schools, please get in touch.