West Sussex schools’ funding crisis: Headteachers spell out new warnings to parents

New warnings over the effects of Government funding cuts on schools in West Sussex have gone out today from headteachers to parents.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 11:24 am
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 11:25 am

‘Dismayed’ school heads say that the Department for Eduction is refusing to face the effects of the cuts - and that West Sussex, along with schools in the rest of the country, are still not receiving enough cash.

In the letters - from the West Sussex campaign group WorthLess? - parents are warned: “Schools are still not being provided with adequate funding and resource to deliver the level of provision and support that is expected and that our families and children deserve.”

The heads say that school budgets have been cut by between eight and 20 per cent since 2010 and that they are ‘dismayed’ that previous calls for action have been ignored.

In the letter, the headteachers say: “Increasingly, schools are being asked to support with children’s emotional health and wellbeing. Frequently, we do not have adequate resource to meet a growing need.

“Often, the most vulnerable students in our schools – those with special educational needs and disabilities – are bearing the brunt of cuts and schools are struggling to provide the levels of support that they are entitled to.

“These issues are not simply affecting a few schools - though West Sussex is severely affected. They are common features across our education system up and down the country. Levels of concern are so widespread amongst headteachers that we are all working together with a united voice.”

The heads have written to the Secretary of State for Education three times since last September. “We are dismayed that he has chosen to ignore our communications and repeated requests to meet.”

In an unprecedented move in September 2018, more than 2,000 headteachers campaigned at Westminster in a bid to underline the seriousness of the situation.

The ‘Worth Less?’ campaign group - spearheaded by Jules White, headteacher of Tanbridge House School in Horsham - now comprises 64 local authorities and boroughs, covering thousands of schools and millions of families.

In their letter to parents today the group says: “We continue to recognise that there is not a ‘bottomless pit’ of money and also acknowledge that many local MPs from across the political spectrum are taking a supportive approach. We must make clear, however, that the current response from the Department for Education is inadequate.”

The WorthLess? campaign is being supported by the parent-led group Save Our Schools West Sussex. It is encouraging all parents ‘to act to support local headteachers by writing to their MP or directly to the Department for Education to raise their concerns and provide evidence of the impact the lack of funding is having.’

SOS campaigner Mel Pickett said: “It is outrageous that politicians continue to bury their heads in the sand by refusing to meet with the hard-working heads who are doing their best to keep standards of education high while balancing the books.

“The funding situation in our schools is unsustainable, and we hope that other parents agree that it is unacceptable for this to continue to be ignored by the Government. What could be more important than the education of our children?”