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James Cleverly MP asks for School Cuts website to be taken down
EB News: 15/02/2019 - 13:47
Conservative Deputy Chairman James Cleverly MP has written to the NEU and asked them to take the School Cuts Coalition’s website down “immediately”
The ongoing row over the figures published on the School Cuts Coalition’s website, which is endorsed by all the major teaching unions, was first raised last year when Cleverly wrote to the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) about misleading use of data.
As reported in the TES and on Talk Radio, James Cleverly MP has written an ‘open letter’ to Dr Mary Bousted and Mr Kevin Courtney:
“I am writing to you as Joint Secretaries of the National Education Union which operates the schoolcuts.org.uk website on behalf of a 'coalition of partners' to request that you immediately take down this website. This is in light of the verdict from the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) that the figures on the website are 'misleading'.
"In December 2018, I wrote to the UKSA outline my concerns with the misleading claims that the School Cuts website has produced in relation to school funding. I highlighted that your website uses data and calculations which deliberately misrepresent the statistics. I pointed out that that the School Cuts website uses a methodology which is fundamentally flawed and skewed towards generating 'cuts' despite the government spending a record amount on schools.
“These figures have also been used as part of a wider campaign, which have appeared on banners attached to schools and have been used by Labour MPs in the House of Commons.”
However, as reported by the BBC in October last year, school spending claims by the Department for Education are being investigated by UKSA. The body complained it had needed to write to the Department for Education on four separate occasions in the past year about its presentation and use of education statistics, yet still issues had not been resolved.
Head teachers have accused the department of "disrespecting" schools and teachers by this "extraordinary" use of statistics, warning it has "serious questions to answer".