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Head’s cash call

MORE action from MPs has been demanded by a Felpham headteacher to tackle a funding crisis.


Mark Anstiss said the start of the new financial year next month would highlight the continued pressure on the budgets of the county’s schools.


“The national funding formula is starting to be implemented and one of the headline figures is that schools in West Sussex should be getting £28m extra,” he said.


“On the face of it, that is encouraging but the reality is that the actual amount of money passed on to schools is nowhere near enough to get us out of the critical position we are in.


“We have got considerable added cost pressures – extra pension contributions, extra National Insurance contributions, the money we have to give to the local education authority, the apprentice levy and inflation is three per cent.


“All of these factors means that, when the funding comes through, the schools in West Sussex will still find themselves in dire straits.”


Felpham Community College head Mark Anstiss met with other secondary education providers in the county on Wednesday morning to talk about the situation.


He said the message of inadequate funding was the same from all of them.


“The next financial year of 2018/19 is going to be as difficult as the one before,” he said.


He had made tough decisions at the college last year and had re-organised its support staff. This had led to some redundancies.


“I cut quite deep last year. As a result of that, we will scrape by this year,” he said. “But the fact is that the situation has affected the provision we are able to offer at the college.


“Although the number of children at the college is increasing, we have got about the same amount of teachers that we had.


“In some subjects, we have had to cut options at GCSE and A-level and class sizes are bigger than we would like. We also struggle to get the resources we need for the new courses that are coming.


“As headteachers, we want to keep our schools going as effectively as we can but the reality is that all headteachers are facing these sorts of pressures.


“I feel very strongly about this. I don’t want to alarm parents but they do need to know the effect funding is having an effect on schools.”


Mr Anstiss spoke out as he prepared to send a new letter to parents and carers of his pupils as part of the county-wide Worth Less? Campaign to obtain better funding.


The letter will ask parents and carers to request more action from MPs in the area to press for stronger support of schools in their constituencies.


Mr Anstiss said unequal funding between schools contrasted to their equal treatment when it came to exams for their students and assessments by Ofsted.

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