Parents back fight over budget

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The Independent Online
PARENTS at a north London primary school where governors are refusing to implement the budget set by the local authority, are calling on other schools to join the protest, writes Sarah Strickland.

A resolution has been passed by parents at Ambler Primary School, Islington, calling on governors not to act on a budget which will mean the loss of 1.5 teaching posts, as well as books and materials. The borough has cut pounds 6m off education spending and Ambler must make a saving of pounds 40,000 this year. Other schools face similar problems, forcing them to cut staff.

Scarlett MccGwire, an Ambler governor, said that while the governors felt it their responsibility to plan within their budget, they would support the parents' motion. 'None of us would govern against the parents' wishes. We are not a profligate school.' She added that parents were trying to gain support among parents at other schools. 'It is possible that others will reject their budgets and if a large number do so, it will be very difficult for the council.' This appears to be the first time a school has opted for direct confrontation with the local authority. It is unclear how the school would be run if the governors maintain their stance.

A spokeswoman for Islington council said schools were not in a position to reject or accept budgets, only to implement them. 'We have consistently protected and fought for schools and we are doing the best we can,' she said. 'They should turn their anger against the Government, which is not funding education properly.'