YEP Says, February 17: Funding fix set to leave schools short-changed

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...and Victoria Gate on track for success

IT WOULD be remiss of the major political parties not to ring-fence funding for schools after the next election – education, after all, holds the key to the future success of Leeds youngsters.

What is slightly disingenuous, however, is the failure of political parties to be straight with voters about the conditions that are attached to such promises. The protection in NHS funding has not been matched by safeguards to social care, prompting home visits to the elderly to be limited to a matter of minutes, and David Cameron’s commitment to school doesn’t appear to be water-tight either.

As well as his promise failing to take account of the expected rise in the number of pupils being taught, it is claimed by headteachers in Leeds that it does not reflect the increases in pensions and National Insurance contributions that schools will be extended to fund from this September onwards.

Staff at one leading secondary school, Benton Park, claim that they’re likely to be £250,000 a year worse off – the equivalent of six full-time teaching posts.

Even with an extra £390m being made available to cover this change in responsibility, there is a likelihood that the amount of spending per pupil will actually fall in the next Parliament – a state of affairs at odds with the impression that has been created by Mr Cameron.

Victoria Gate on track for success

FUNNY how quickly things change, isn’t it?

Back in the gloom of the recession, the fear was that developers Hammerson might pull the plug on plans for an upmarket shopping complex in the heart of Leeds.

A few years on, Victoria Gate is already 40 per cent let – and it doesn’t open until 2016.

Some might say most of what’s going to be on offer there will carry a price tag beyond their means, but the securing of a major name such as John Lewis is a huge vote of confidence in the city.

Victoria Gate as a whole will add a new dimension to Leeds that it desperately needs – not to mention creating plenty of jobs.