How to help ensure that our schools retain a voice in parliament
For many years, the education of children in Cambridgeshire has been underfunded compared to many neighbouring counties. This is the legacy of a Conservative county council back in the 1980s, who slashed local education spending with an almost missionary zeal, as an example to others. The funding has never caught up, despite many years of campaigning by local MPs of different parties.
But in 2013, it was Julian Huppert who finally secured the debate which began the road to changing the situation. He pointed out: "We receive £600 less per pupil than the English average for schools block funding, and ...for an average two-form entry primary school, that is a difference of £250,000 a year ...enough for seven teachers on average pay. Cambridgeshire kids deserve what everyone else gets."
The effort seemed to have paid off at the time. In 2014, after nearly a decade of campaigning on the issue, Julian Huppert was able to announce that Cambridgeshire schools are to get an extra £23.2 million in government funding – £2.7 million more than originally expected. The news was welcomed by teachers, parents and administrators of every political persuasion.
In addition, teachers welcomed the success of the "Pupil Premium" - additional funding for state funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers. This was a flagship policy of the Liberal Democrats in coalition. Julian Huppert also tackled the Prime Minister over VAT bills for sixth form colleges, which leaves them out of pocket by hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
Whichever candidate Cambridge elects as its MP in June, we would all expect them to work hard on education funding for the county. Sadly, history shows that is not necessarily the case - and even when it is, few have been as successful as Julian Huppert. If you want to vote with schools in mind, remember that we need Julian Huppert.
Yes, there is, whether you're an individual or an organisation, and whether you're in Cambridge or not. Most important of all is encouraging people to vote for Julian Huppert. Even if you're not in Cambridge, you may know people who are. Remind them that despite what the media would have us believe, we're not voting for the next prime minister, we're voting for our local MP. The importance of supporting schools won't need any explanation, but not everyone realises the importance of Julian Huppert's Election to schools.
Email friends and colleagues a link to this page, or tweet a link to it. Share this page on Facebook. Or link to some of the articles below. You could even blog about the subject. This transcends party politics and is about the future of our local schools. Every message and every conversation helps - yours as much as anyone's.