Head teachers of every state school in West Sussex have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to warn that they may be forced to lay off staff, stop teaching certain subjects or reduce their school hours because of a lack of funding.
In the letter they say that £20m is needed in emergency funding for the schools, and that the support and maintenance of existing schools must take priority over the proposals for the return of the grammar school system.
In the letter, the head teachers wrote: “Schools are struggling to function adequately on a day to day basis, and, in addition, we are severely hampered in our ability to recruit and retain staff, work with reasonable teacher-pupil ratios and to buy basic equipment.”
West Sussex schools feel they are deprived of the funds they need to operate under the current financial arrangements, with inner-city schools receiving greater funding.
The head teachers say that, compared to similar sized schools in an average London borough, schools in West Sussex are receiving £2.7m less per year. This, they say, equates to £1,800 less per student than an inner-city school. The teachers also say that, even with a £20m boost from the government, they would still receive around £200 less per pupil than the national average.
West Sussex heads say that in total, over the last 5 years, their pupils have received £1bn less in funding than their counterparts in London, as it was revealed by the Department for Education that £40bn each year goes into school funding.
The Department for Education said that “a school in one part of the country could receive over 50 per cent more than an identical school with exactly the same children, simply because of an accident of history,” because the “current system for distributing that funding is outdated, inefficient and unfair.”
Jules White, one of the head teachers, said that everyone attached to the schools fully understood and supported their protests against a lack of funding, and that the letter had been sent to over 100,000 parents.