It seems like a lifetime ago that Tony Blair rolled into power with his battle cry of ‘Education, education, education.”
He put classrooms at the forefront of the political agenda and backed up the education system with cold hard cash.
Whether that extra money was spent wisely is a moot point, but there was plenty available.
Fast forward two decades and we have a very different landscape.
Money, across the board, is in short supply.
In education, like our health and social care services, the financial pursestrings are tightening like a hangman’s noose.
That we needed a new school funding formula is not in doubt.
But the hoped for result of more cash for underfunded schools is, many fear, failing to materialise.
Headteachers, in particular, have painted bleak picture of our children’s future if the proposed Government plans go ahead.
They have joined together to write a letter to all Sunderland families warning of a shortfall of £14million by the end of 2019.
In real terms they say this is an average reduction of £399 per pupil across the city.
It’s not what parents want to hear.
They want the best for their children and are not shy when it comes to lending financial support.
It’s common practice for parents to be asked to contribute to school trips and other educational events, and, for the large part, they do so without complaint.
They can’t fill a £14m funding black hole!
The government would do well to look at this formula again.
We want education, education, education, not disruption, disruption, disruption.