HEADTEACHERS have dismissed additional school funding received from the government as “simply not good enough”.
Inequalities in the education funding system have seen West Sussex floundering near the bottom of the cash pile, with the lack of money leaving schools unable to hire specialist teachers or purchase basic equipment such as books and pens.
Following concerted efforts from every primary, secondary and special school head in the county – all of whom signed their names to the Worth Less? campaign for fairer funding – the government provided an additional £930,000 interim payment to help them make ends meet, before a new system is introduced in 2017.
Spread between every school in the county, the money amounted to less than £10 per pupil – or the cost of a cinema ticket – and left headteachers asking why West Sussex children were judged to be worth so little.
In a letter to parents, Yasmin Maskatiya, executive principal at Chichester High School for Girls, said: “Bearing in mind that our children are funded 10 per cent less than the national average, this is simply not good enough and children’s education across West Sussex will suffer as a result.”
Ms Maskatiya and her fellow heads are campaigning for £200 per pupil – a total of £20million – from April until the new funding system is in place. While that may seem like a high figure, it would still leave West Sussex receiving £200 per pupil less than the national average.
West Sussex schools receive £4,198 per pupil in government funding, compared to the national average of £4,612 – a difference which would have meant an extra £41million per year for the county.
In London, where teachers are paid more, the average figure per pupil is well in excess of £6,000 – a difference of £212million per year.
Ms Maskatiya said: “Why should West Sussex students be funded at a lower rate than other students in other parts of the country. The principle is to do with equity and therefore of provision for our young people and children.”
The Worth Less? campaigners have called on parents to contact their MPs to stress the need for better funding.
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