LETTER: Parents must stand up for what's best for their children

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am a parent with two children in a local comprehensive school that is facing a budget cut of about £100,000 this year. They may have to shed six to eight teachers, equivalent to about 10 per cent of their staff, or an entire year group.

I wrote to my MP, John Patten, and to John Gummer and Gillian Shephard, to express my dismay at this prospect. I told them that all the parents I knew were totally opposed to these cuts, and were prepared to pay higher council taxes to see them reversed.

I suppose that I imagined that reasoned arguments might influence the final decision. What I got in reply, however, were bland assurances and a crude attempt using misleading statistics to pass the blame back to the county council.

Yesterday, I read that the Government is to "defy" governors who intend to set deficit budgets, and go ahead with the cuts. This is no help to my children, who will have to endure increased class sizes and reduced choices.

I am not a radical, but for too long now I and others like me have stood meekly by while the fabric of our society is steadily dismantled. Now is the time for parents to stand up and be counted. We can start by supporting governors and teachers in any action they think appropriate. After all, what is a little disruption now compared with a blight on state education for a generation?

Yours faithfully, M. L. Jenkins Abingdon, Oxfordshire 8 February

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