Tutu Foundation criticises Croydon Council for cutting supplementary education funding
THE Tutu Foundation has slammed Croydon Council on the eve of the internationally renowned archbishop's visit to the borough.
The attack comes after last-ditch attempts to persuade councillors to drop plans to cut funding for extra education for struggling children from the black and minority ethic communities (BME) were defeated on Monday.
Chief executive of the Tutu Foundation UK – set up by South African human rights campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Alexandra Ankrah branded the decision a "disappointing step".
"I visit programmes for young people all around the UK and see the tremendous difference that supplementary education programmes can make to young lives," she said.
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"I am under no illusions about the funding challenges facing everyone, but there can be no doubt that history will judge harshly if, by our apathy, we place the greatest burden of the economic crisis on those least responsible for it."
Around 40 parents and children attended Monday's meeting of the council to hear Labour members oppose the £100,000 cut in funding, which will hit 16 BME groups.
A Labour motion urging the rethink said the cut "undermines the efforts of the local community to support young people who are let down by mainstream education and ignores the views of the local community."
Labour councillor, Kathy Bee told the meeting she believed secondary schools were "still failing our black children and that isn't good enough."
The council still needed a strategy, she said, which supported people providing additional education.
She said: "They do not need to be funded unquestionably, but they do need a strategy that reflects the needs of their community."
Fellow Labour member, Councillor Donna Gray accused the council of launching an attack on the young people of Croydon and hitting organisations which had served the community for more than 30 years.
Councillor Vidhi Mohan, the cabinet member for communities, claimed that GCSE results had improved recently among pupils from ethnic groups and in the light of that the council needed to look at whether funding supplementary education was the best use of resources.
Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learners, said: "We are not suggesting that their work has not been very valuable or unsuccessful."
But, he added, funding for the council had been cut by a third and the budget had to be looked at.
The Labour motion was lost by 36 votes to 33.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu will host Conversation For Change at Fairfield Halls on Tuesday. The Tutu Foundation is offering 200 free tickets for young people and their families. To apply call 0208 6843719.