HEADTEACHERS are to defy council bosses today by unfurling huge banners highlighting their financial plight.

Dozens of schools in Brighton and Hove will take the unprecedented step as part of a campaign by parent-led group Save Our Schools.

The action will be go ahead today despite Brighton and Hove City Council issuing a warning to headteachers not to display the banners because they were promoting “one-sided political views”.

Andy Richbell, headteacher of St Nicolas Primary School in Portslade, said the issue was above politics.

He said: “We don’t agree with their analysis this is political because we don’t think we are taking a party political stance.

“There are politicians on all sides who are concerned about the Department for Education cuts and have been lobbying them.

“We’ve had support from several of our MPs and every MP we have spoken to recognises that there is an issue.

“So this isn’t party political – it is the community that is really concerned about the impact of the cuts on the children in our schools right now.”

Mr Richbell said the school had stopped spending several years ago, leaving it with difficult decisions such as not replacing a faulty projector, not subsidising trips and scrapping two specialist teacher posts in languages and IT.

The Save Our Schools banner claims cuts mean on average schools in the city will be £193,425 worse off and £487 worse off per pupil.

The figures provided by the body School Cuts, backed by the National Union of Teachers, have been worked out from the estimated reduction across all schools in the city in real terms by 2020 under current Government polices.

This includes plans to reallocate school budgets according to a new schools formula and not increasing per pupil funding in line with inflation.

But the Government claims school funding is at an all-time high with £40 billion committed nationwide in 2016-17. This is despite the National Audit Office saying schools face £3 billion in spending pressures by 2020 with Brighton and Hove schools facing a £14 million cut, according to campaigners.

Earlier this week the council sent an email to schools warning headteachers displaying the banners would breach the Education Act by promoting “one-sided political views” and could sway support for a political party during election time.

The email read: “The council... is of the view that schools are prohibited from displaying banners associated with campaign.”

A council spokesman said: “We have been in touch with headteachers and governors to remind them of their responsibilities regarding activities that could be construed as political in the run-up to the election.”


THE number of schools with negative balances in Brighton and Hove has nearly doubled in three years.

On Tuesday The Argus revealed 11 schools in the local authority were in the red in 2015/2016, compared with six in 2012/2013.

Across the city headteachers are cutting staff to make the savings.

Parents at Hove Park School are campaigning to save the job of the school’s PE technician Mark Pulling.

The school which had a deficit of more than £268,000 in 2015/16, said it had no option but to take action to secure a sound financial basis.

The GMB has begun consultations on up to 25 job losses for support staff, including at one primary where up to 18 of 30 teaching assistants face redundancy.

GMB branch secretary Mark Turner said: “This is pretty unprecedented in terms of numbers. Consultations are also starting at other schools for job losses of teachers.”

Even headteachers of schools with the largest reserves of cash have said they will run out of money with costs increasing with inflation but no guarantee funding will increase in line with that.

The fortunes of schools in city closely mirror the picture across East and West Sussex.

Seven East Sussex schools applied for permission to run a deficit in 2016/17 compared with three years ago.

The number of West Sussex schools in the red, 13, has more than doubled between March 2014 and March 2016.