Save Our Schools. It is the name of the campaign and the message these parents want to send to the Government, as they claim £41million funding cuts to schools in West Sussex have led to the ‘betrayal of an entire generation of children’.
More than 500 parents, school staff and children took part in a rally in Worthing to make their voices heard.
Vicki Wells, the co-founder of the Save Our Schools campaign, said the event had been a big success given it had only been organised one week before, and is hoping to replicate these rallies across the county.
She said: “People came together because there has been a genuine horror at the level of cuts that are actually happening right now in our local schools.
“What parents, grandparents and the wider Sussex community needs to understand is that these are live cuts, right now, which are denying our children their right to an education.”
Armed with drums, whistles, banners and plaques, the group marched from Steyne Gardens, through the town centre and along the seafront, chanting ‘no more cuts, save our schools’, and ‘we’re from Sussex and we say, stop the cuts, stop them today’.
The Harry Potter fans among the crowd were particularly creative, making a sign which compared Theresa May to the draconian headteacher Dolores Umbridge.
Onay Faiz, from West Worthing, is a concerned parent who joined the rally ‘to spotlight what is happening in our town’.
She said: “The Government isn’t getting the message that our children need funding, and they needed it yesterday.
“As a parent I’m being asked to give a little bit extra here and there to help the school, which I do not mind doing – but not all parents can.”
Dan Sartin, the branch secretary of Unison West Sussex, said the union knew of 56 schools in West Sussex planning redundancies for the academic year and described it as a ‘scandal’.
He said other schools were not replacing staff that had left and were ending fixed-term contracts for staff.
Mr Sartin added that our pupils are below the national average for attainment, which he attributed to ‘a direct link between resources in schools and educational attainment’.
A Worthing teaching assistant said her school was having to use scrap paper to save money, and could not afford to replace stationery.
A public meeting of the Save Our Schools group will be held at the Assembly Hall from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, with speakers including former National Union of Teachers president Philipa Harvey.
To join the campaign, search ‘save our schools - west sussex’ on Facebook.