Sheila Caffrey, Primary school teacher
Tories plan to starve working class kids by cutting universal free school meals for children under seven.
Claims that many families don’t want the meals may be true in some leafy paradises. They’re certainly not in the working class estates of Bristol, where I teach.
Children queue out the door to attend free breakfast clubs. The same happens at lunch.
Try and find a teacher anywhere who hasn’t noticed the improvement in children’s concentration and behaviour following a proper lunch. Never mind the long-term benefits for their health and educational attainment.
It is only a year since the Conservatives introduced universal free school meals. It’s the only policy I can think of that has benefitted the community where I live and teach.
“A moment of humanity and kindness form the Tories?” I hear you question. Of course not. It was a fig leaf to cover a package of new cuts for schools.
A stuttering Cameron has already tried to backtrack. He claims there are no plans to remove free meals for all under-7s.
Yet Chancellor George Osbourne is declaring a cut of 25 to 40% to unprotected budgets. What else are they planning to slash?
Schools have already seen a further cut of about 10% this year. This means the equivalent of 45,000 full-time posts going.
Teachers have seen pay, pensions and conditions sliced. Schools are becoming ghost towns. Tory Death Eaters stand tall and boast what a great job they’ve done reducing budgets.
The Socialist Party says universal free school meals must stay – and be extended to all ages. The teachers’ unions, and all in the public sector, must respond to cuts with co-ordinated strikes to reverse them.
Council education budgets are being drained of blood by semi-privatised ‘academy’ schools. A BBC investigation found this policy has wasted £32.5 million.
Councils are forced to pay all costs when private firms take command of the schools, which remain publicly funded. The companies then sell their services back to the academies, syphoning off public cash as profits.