LETTER: Fund all state schools fairly

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Your views.

It was great to note the recent unanimous vote of Borough Councillors for Crawley to play a part in supporting Syrian refugees.

What could be better in the approach to a unifying festival of peace in Britain.

This contrasts with the opportunistic announcement of our MP Henry Smith who complains about the lack of money for Crawley schools because of unfair funding.

It is true that Sussex schools receive less than the national average in the funding formula applied by central government. Crawley headteachers have rightly said it makes it increasingly difficult to provide good education on an uneven playing field judged by the same testing regime imposed by government to all state but not private schools.

That formula was changed during three Labour governments to reduce funding to education authorities in the more affluent south east to give more support to those in areas of social deprivation. Sussex managed to cope well. Since 2010 Tory governments have squeezed all communities with austerity and heavily cut public services.

Healthcare, policing, education and other public services are reaching a critical point where effectiveness will soon collapse in areas formerly improving. Tories increasingly inhabit a virtual world of low tax spin unrecognised by thinking readers.

The most galling aspect for Crawley schools is to have seen the huge wastage on teacher turnover, rising class sizes, inability to obtain candidates for posts and vanity project failures like the Discovery Free School in Broadfield.

Now to be told the Gatwick Free School is a state school is the last straw. Technically that’s true because it gets its generous direct Government funding at the expense of West Sussex Education Authority school funding levels.

Henry Smith shouldn’t be allowed to get away with his crocodile tears for all Crawley schoolchildren when in fact the Tory agenda is to fragment and divide education provision.

The answer is to recognise the pernicious effect private education has in our society, to fund all state school areas fairly and fully according to the demands placed upon and needs of children and to tax the rich to do so.

Dave Hathaway, ex-president, West Sussex Teachers Association

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