The Labour MP Jess Phillips has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to transport thousands of children to Westminster to deposit them at parliament in protest against funding cuts which are forcing schools to close early.
The action will form part of a day of protests against the cuts, which hit home for Phillips last week when she found out the school attended by her 10-year-old son, Danny, is to close early on Fridays because it can no longer afford to stay open for a full week.
The MP for Birmingham Yardley is calling on parents to support “a huge campaign day”, and at 1pm on a Friday – the time her school and others are now closing to save money – to leave their children at the Department for Education (DfE), the Treasury and Downing Street.
Appealing for donations to fund transport costs for the day of action, Phillips said Danny’s school could also no longer afford to fund the support needed for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Writing on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, Phillips said parents from all over the country had contacted her with similar stories following her personal outcry on Twitter last week. “The government has failed in the most basic job it has: to provide schooling for all of our children five days a week. We intend to show them that we will not take this.
“Together with the Save our Schools group I am organising a huge campaign day where we will take thousands of children to Westminster on a Friday and at 1pm, the time our schools have to close, we will be leaving our children at the Department for Education (DfE), the Treasury and I will leave my son and some of his friends with special educational needs at Downing Street.
“It is the basic job of the government to educate ALL of our children for five days per week, we intend to make sure they do this. If they will not do it in our local schools they can do it in their offices.”
Asked to comment last week on Phillips’ concerns, the DfE said: “While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, we recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and that we are asking them to do more. That’s why we’re supporting schools and headteachers, and their local authorities, to make the most of every pound.”