'Teachers now are run off their feet' - Voters in Jarrow and Gateshead East lament lack of funding for schools

Constituents in Jarrow and Gateshead East said schools need more funding and more teachers if they are going to improve, with some residents believing that neither Labour or the Conservatives have the best policy on school and education. We are speaking to voters all over the North East in the run-up to July 4.

Following the announcement that Colegate Primary School is to close, ChronicleLive headed to the constituency to speak to people about the impact it will have, and also find out how the school system needs to improve.

Madison Mantolon, 56 from Lobley Hill, said: “Colegate Primary School should not be closed because it will affect a lot of families. It’s not forward-thinking closing the school.”

This view was echoed by Steve Cole, 70, who added: “There’s going to be a lot more expenses on families with the school closing. It’s never a good idea to close schools.”

Josh Elder, 19 from Gateshead, argued there needs to be a reform of the system and curriculum if schools are to improve. He said: “Life skills lessons don’t teach life skills. Bring back cooking, sewing, how to deal with your money, because no one knows how to.”

Margaret Martin, 73 from Hebburn, argued there needs to be more teachers: “Teachers now are run off their feet trying to deal with everything”, whilst Steve Cole believed the Liberal Democrats had the best policy on how to improve schools.

Other issues such as immigration and the control of it, jobs and trust in politicians were other issues highlighted by constituents.

Angie Comerford, 47 who runs food bank Hebburn Helps, said: “The main issue for me is poverty, especially child poverty. The rates are sky-high in the area, so I’d like something done about that.

“Mental health services as well. We are losing too many people at the moment who are taking their own lives, there needs to be more support.”

Voters were also asked their opinions on Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer, again with neither man impressing.

On Mr Sunak, Raymond McKenry, 70 said: “He’s not in this world, he’s a rich guy and he was brought up not knowing the realities of life. When we grew up you shared tins of soup, you didn’t have Sky TV. You had three channels and then they went off at 3pm.”

Other voters described him as: “not too truthful, entitled, clueless and unelected”, and Stuart Withey, 76 from Hebburn, described him as: “Incompetent, he’s a multi-millionaire who doesn’t give two hoots about anybody.”

Mr Starmer also failed to impress a lot of people. Isabella Hutton, 81 from Felling, said he was “too weak”, with other comments such as “slimy, don’t know whether to trust him, nervous, doesn’t know what the people want and a lesser of two evils” used to describe him.

Although Angie was a little more optimistic about the Labour leader: “Let’s hope he’s got the key to whatever is going to make some magic happen.”