Jobs are to be cut at Felpham Community College – and the headteacher has laid the blame firmly at the feet of the ongoing funding crisis.
A restructuring and redundancy process has started at the college, with 5.5 full time equivalent support staff expected to lose their jobs from September.
Headteacher Mark Anstiss has been battling alongside staff, governors, parents and fellow heads for fairer funding from the government, while more and more pressure was piled onto his budget.
When asked if the decision to cut staff was made due to the funding issues, he replied: “Yes. If the National Funding Formula had been implemented when initially proposed – April 2017 – then we may have been okay.
“If we had received the interim funding, that we campaigned for, then we would not have needed to take these steps.”
Most of the staff affected work part-time.
Mr Anstiss added: “Clearly, this is a position we had hoped to avoid. As a West Sussex school we have been underfunded for years and know how to operate on a tight budget. But this year has been a step too far. The government can’t keep adding extra cost burdens to schools and expect them to be absorbed.
“It is hugely frustrating to go through this process when we know similar schools in different areas are funded far more generously than us.”
Looking at the affect the redundancies will have, Mr Anstiss said: “Although we have tried to minimise the impact on the provision we provide, there will be consequences. Teachers will have less support for their work, admin tasks will take longer to complete and some extra services we currently provide will be reduced.”
At Chichester High, head Yasmin Maskatiya confirmed the school expected to make one teacher and one member of the support staff redundant this year.
Dan Sartin, branch secretary for Unison West Sussex, which represents many school support staff, branded the cuts “a disaster” and appealed for headteachers to be open with parents about the consequences of the job losses. He said: “We accept that the school did not make the funding crisis: the government did. But there still needs to be transparency about the impact.”
He also echoed calls from headteachers for parents to write to their MPs to demand a fairer settlement for all schools.
Mr Sartin added: “It is shocking and a disgrace that the government is leaving schools to make these valuable staff redundant and knowingly undermining the education of our children, whilst at the same time it is earmarking hundreds of millions of pounds to fund unneeded and damaging grammar and free schools.”