Funding crisis could force schools to cut opening hours

The West Sussex Gazette recently reported that West Sussex schools may have to consider not opening five days a week if the government fails to address the county’s ongoing education funding crisis.

West Sussex is one of the worst-funded local authorities in the country, receiving £40million per year less than the national average and £200million less than some London boroughs. With rising national insurance and pension costs to cover, that shortfall has left schools at breaking point.

If you work in a school or have children in a West Sussex school, please tell us how funding shortfalls have impacted on you by completing our schools’ survey:

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We will send a report based on your feedback to the ‘Worth Less?’ campaign. This aims to secure our members’ jobs and working conditions, and also improve education in our county.

Peter Woodman, head of The Weald School in Billingshurst, said: “What is frightening is when you start saying ‘do we have enough money to open five days a week?’

“We’re not saying we’re going there yet, we’re saying on the range of things, absolutely everything needs to be explored.”

His words were echoed by Jules White, head of Tanbridge House School, in Horsham, who said school leaders had been left having to contemplate any option to make ends meet. He added: “This includes increasing class sizes again, reducing our curriculum, not replacing staff and considering revised opening hours. “This is the last thing that any school leader would want to do but if your authority receives £200million less than the average London borough each year then this is what happens.”

Headteachers have contacted all West Sussex MPs to arrange a meeting to stress how dire the situation has become and emphasise the consequences of continued under-funding.

If you’re affected by real terms education cuts, you can also write to your local MP. This will add weight to any argument put forward by headteachers. Find your local MP here.