Our schools are beyond breaking point – where is the outrage? | John Harris

Bone-headed reforms and deep cuts have left our education system is a scandalous state of disrepair

Last summer, as the politics of Britain’s exit from the EU staggered on and England’s World Cup run offered some kind of respite, I spent an afternoon in Brownhills, near the West Midlands town of Walsall. I was there to try to get beyond the deafening inanities of Brexit, and report on the mounting financial crisis facing England’s education system. At Millfield primary school, everything once again became clear.

Millfield serves a deprived catchment area, and is the kind of place whose everyday magic becomes obvious as soon as you walk in. It has an imaginative approach to education and a track record of helping children in difficult circumstances. Despite its location among tarmac and trunk roads, it specialises in outdoor activities such as canoeing and hiking. But the day I was there, all the talk was of which bits of its provision would have to go. Its headteacher, Michelle Sheehy, was blunt: “We’re heading for a £200,000 deficit. So we need to cut.”

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