HEAD teachers from all 250 primary schools in West Sussex have written to Theresa May to demand an extra £20 million as they face such an acute funding crisis that some schools are considering cutting the school week to a four-day-week!
Without £20m emergency transitional funding they say that they will be forced to make cuts. A group of pupils and head teachers went to Downing Street yesterday to deliver the letter, which is also being sent to more than 100,000 West Sussex parents. The lack of progress on funding, they say, has meant ‘a crippling effect on our already dire financial position.’
The cuts being considered are: reducing school hours, bigger class sizes, not replacing staff and making teachers redundant, and cutting the school week. The head teachers have told the prime minister that schools have ‘no more fat to trim. 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.’
Hank Roberts, past national president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said: ‘Cutting the school week because of severe shortage of teachers because of funding cuts would not be for the first time. This existed in London previously in the 1970s, some schools in London were providing part-time education for up to two years, three days a week in some cases.
‘This was only stopped when there was a large increase in funding and a commensurate increase in pay for teachers. Our current position is that teachers and support staff have already had a 20% real cut in their pay. If this position continues the crisis in education will become even bigger, especially in the light of the large increase in the number of pupils requiring schools and education.
‘This whole situation is intolerable and parents as well as teachers have a duty to protest and take the strongest actions to stop this possible. The education unions will have to consider what action they will have to take if this position is not rapidly addressed and improved.’
An NUT spokesperson said: ‘This government’s inadequate and declining funding levels are unacceptable. Investing in education, allowing all of our young people to reach their full potential, is the foundation for our economic security and prosperity.’