honours - parents protest over school funding - Edward Timpson, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, Minister for Children and Families

Campaigners fighting new school funding plans in South Cheshire have hit out at MP Edward Timpson for failing to attend a public meeting.

The protest against the proposed National Funding Formula, which could leave Crewe and Nantwich schools at the bottom of the UK funding table, is gathering momentum.

Many fear the NFF could result in cuts to teaching staff, subjects being dropped and trips cancelled as schools face a drop in their budgets.

Teaching unions, headteachers, councillors, staff and parents organised a public meeting at Crewe Alex FC to discuss their concerns on Friday (March 17), which Mr Timpson was invited to but did not attend.

Maria Moss, Unison regional organiser for Cheshire East, said: “It was in enough time for him to at least try to make any rearrangements ‎to enable him to be accountable to concerned parents on this matter.

“‎The same invitation was sent to Angela Raynor, Shadow Education Secretary, who did rearrange a meeting with parents in her constituency to attend this event given its profile and impact in East Cheshire.

“Unison also used a surgery appointment to again urge Mr Timpson to attend, given the serious nature of this matter and its effect on constituents and children of Cheshire East.

“But he could not be persuaded, even though he was given the most up to date evidence on the cuts that will take place should the formula proceed.

“People were greatly disappointed by his absence and some said this will not be forgotten come election time.”

Campaign organiser Laura Smith speaks at the CobblesNantwich mum and former teacher Laura Smith (pictured), who has helped spearhead the public campaign in South Cheshire, added: “All his constituents have ever wanted is him to publicly stand with us on this matter.

“Generic letters aren’t enough.

“Despite organising two rallies totalling more than 2,000 people, collecting 87 pages of letters from his constituents and headteachers, and producing a dossier for him to take to Nick Gibb, plus trying to get to see him at a surgery, he has not engaged with me once on this matter.

“I understand it’s difficult for him to publicly speak out when he is a minister, but it’s not hard for him to listen and show solidarity.

“People are just feeling very disappointed, and many of those are Conservative or floating voters.

“It’s all very well stating repeatedly that you are working tirelessly behind the scenes, I’m sure he probably is.

“But he is spectacularly missing the point and failing to realise the constituents who he represents want more than someone having private meetings in Westminster.

“The fact Cheshire East has been so underfunded for so long begs the question, why haven’t you done anything about this before Mr Timpson?”

But Mr Timpson’s supporters hit back at the criticism.

One political source close to the Children’s Minister said: “Edward knows how to effect change rather better than many of his shrill local critics.

“What changes minds in a consultation like this is steely, quiet, rational argument – not gesture politics from those who shout the loudest.”

An official spokesman for Edward Timpson told Nantwichnews: “Mr Timpson has calmly, strongly and consistently represented constituents’ views on this matter.

“He has met with headteachers, school governors, parents, pupils and trade union representatives to garner those views, and received many written representations, to which he has responded.

“These views have been put firmly by Mr Timpson to both the Minister of State for Schools and the Secretary of State for Education, with the sole aim of ensuring a fair outcome for Cheshire East pupils.

“Today (March 21) Mr Timpson is meeting again with Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools, to reinforce those views as the consultation response period comes to a close.”

The spokesman also dismissed claims that “relevant” questions/comments on Mr Timpson’s Facebook page were being deleted.

“Off-topic and intemperate comments will be removed,” he said. “This page is not intended as an alternative to written correspondence.”

But Ms Smith added: “Whatever his office say, people have screenshots proving Facebook messages posted to his page have been deleted, ones that aren’t goading or unfair.”

5 Comments

  1. Edward timpson loves getting his face in the local paper but what does he do for us outside the superficial photo posing? He votes as he’s told every time in parliament, always toes the conservative party line, votes pro hunting, pro war, pro cuts, pro corporations etc.
    An obedient tory boy who isn’t thinking how he represents the views and needs of the people of crewe and Nantwich, he represents the conservative party, not us. We can do better. Someone local, someone who cares.

  2. Mike Mayner says:

    Why don’t you make an appointment to chat with your MP about these real concerns?
    They have surgeries.

    I don’t think you would gain much if you keep dismissing the guy on this matter, you need to talk face to face.

    Why would he just rock up at your gig? He may well have had a string of other appointments in the community to deal with.

  3. Matthew Theobald says:

    “Shrill” and proud. I take that label and wear it with honour.

    Edward Timpson’s voting record makes for interesting reading, considering he is supposed to champion vulnerable children and families. Shameful.

    Only bothered to speak in 12 debates over the last 12 months, and unsurprisingly has a low reply rate to corepondence. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is our representative in the House of Commons #NotInMyName

  4. The Tories don’t really care about our children’s education.
    This is all about taking money out to recreate Grammer schools. Not about giving all children the best education possible!
    Timpson doesn’t care

  5. What patronising drivel! To call concerned parents ‘shrill critics’, that have gone out of their way to contest this formal is disgraceful. This isn’t a game, it’s our kids future! The fact is that the MP hasn’t made any ‘public’ effort, which is what is constituents want to see from him.

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