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Kayleigh Walsh
07 Jun 2017

School Cuts – a groundbreaking election campaign tool

What do you get when a tech co-op works with a union? A brilliant tool that makes data accessible and easy to understand.

You might have already seen School Cuts, our collaboration with the National Union of Teachers that revealed the impact of the £3 billion annual cuts that are set to affect 99% of schools in England and Wales.

School Cuts started as an Outlandish Fellowship project called ‘Keep London Schools Great’. Initially funded by Outlandish, it turned out to be such an effective way of raising awareness that the NUT commissioned Outlandish to develop the tool to cover the rest of England and Wales.

After the snap General Election was called on 18 April 2017, we immediately got together with the NUT to agree a set of changes that would provide users with access to information that would help them make informed choices, and also enable them to ask local candidates to commit to opposing the cuts.

The new features created a compelling way for the general public to engage with this issue during the general election campaign, by showing whether or not the candidates in their constituency have pledged to fight school cuts, as well as displaying the overall percentage of pledges made by each party.

This works by enabling visitors to look up any school in England or Wales and email the candidates from their constituency. Candidates then receive an email asking them to confirm whether or not they pledge to fight against school cuts, and this is displayed on the website with a tick, cross or question mark depending on how they’ve replied.

Here’s an example of a school page showing the candidates who have pledged so far:

candidates

Some serious number crunching courtesy of the NUT has enabled us to display how Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifesto commitments will affect 18,329 schools in the UK.

party-breakdown

School pages are now printable so you can hand them out to parents at the school gates, to your friends and relatives, and, more generally, to anyone who cares about the state of our education system!

In a testament to modern technology, you can also stick the print-out in your window to show passersby what might happen to our education system over the next three years depending on who wins the election.

The calculations are based on official figures, inflation analysis, and the previous Government’s proposed formula for future school funding allocations.

Since the election was called, School Cuts has helped more than 600,000 people get the facts on how the proposed cuts will affect their local schools, and has been described by the BBC’s Chris Cook as “an extraordinarily successful campaign… I cannot remember a campaign as effective in recent years by any union”.

We’re proud to have worked with the NUT to produce a tool that makes the data easy to access and understand, engages the public with the democratic process, and enables them to lobby their candidates to make a stand against these cuts.

Have you emailed your candidates yet?

Related Projects

School Cuts

An interactive infographic to show how your local schools are being de-funded. In 2016, the Conservative government was strongly influenced by a campaign called “the F40”. The aim of this campaign was to redistribute schools’ funding away from over-funded regions (such as inner cities), into less well funded regions (such as sparsely-populated counties).