More on the budget soon – particularly the success of my and my colleagues’ attempts to highlight the increasing burden of Leigh Town Council… they are proposing to decrease their precept this year – Wahoo!! for a lot of residents hit by a 102% rise in the LTC charge over the past 4 years.
But, whilst this year’s austerity has led to savings of £7.32m (against a new reduced budget of £133.37m) being required, the Conservative Administration is proposing to be able to do this with a FREEZE in Council Tax – the third freeze we have given in four years (so that is just a 1.75% rise in 4 years), we have also managed to find some money to invest in an area I know dear to a lot of residents’ hearts – improving the outcome of our schools.
Being responsible for Children and Learning in Southend, I’m pleased to announce that I and my colleagues in the Conservative Administration are proposing, in this year’s budget that we spend an additional £200,000 a year, for a minimum of three years, to speed up the improvement of some of our schools in Southend.
This includes money for:
An Early Years Adviser – To ensure that achievement of our youngest kids is above the national average and help those from the poorest/most deprived backgrounds catch up.
A Secondary Education Adviser – To advise, help, support, coach and assist headteachers and the leadership of our secondary schools needing improvement.
Funding for Executive Head, and Deputy Head, teachers – allowing experienced headteachers from Outstanding schools, experienced in managing change, improving – and sustaining improvement of – performance, to pass on their expertises to others.
Whilst the council, and the country, are having to make cut backs, this investment into our children’s future, coupled with this Government’s increased Pupil Premium (an extra £1.7m this year) grant really does show that the Conservative Administration not only cares deeply about the education Southend’s children get, but is prepared to increase funding to it – investing for our town’s future.