Worthing headteachers reveal impact of funding cuts on schools

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CAMPAIGNERS have carried out a survey of headteachers which found nearly nine in ten schools in one town have made staffing cuts in the last year.

Members of the Save Our Schools campaign group carried out the survey of half the headteachers in Worthing, showing 87 per cent of the schools have made cuts to directly employed staff.

Half the schools that responded to the survey have cut the number of teachers, nearly 90 per cent have lost special needs support staff and 70 per cent have cut teaching assistants.

Chris Keating, headteacher at Davison Church of England High School for Girls, said: “These statistics lay bare the reality of the funding crisis in our local schools.

“Teachers and support staff are doing everything they can to maintain the high standards of education our students receive but this is simply not sustainable unless we get the injection of funding so desperately needed.”

All the headteachers surveyed said there has been a reduction in the amount spent on school equipment and more than half had to stall plans to make improvements to school buildings due to a lack of funding.

To try to fill the funding gap through other means, some schools have had to ask for contributions from parent teacher associations or from parents to help pay for necessary learning materials.

Nearly three quarters of them reported there is less support available for pupils with individual needs and nearly half reduced extra support for children with additional needs.

Staff training has also been put at risk, with more than a third of the schools reducing the level of training received by employees.

At the same time more than 50 per cent have been forced to cut outside support for music and theatre activities and a third have cut sports provisions.

Sarah Maynard, a West Sussex Save Our Schools campaigner, said: “All schools are facing rising costs to cover salaries, national insurance contributions and rising inflation levels but the funding they receive is just not keeping pace.

“They are being forced to cut staff, find alternative ways of funding school activities and reducing what is offered to students, which will mean they don’t get the experiences and start in life that they deserve.

“We need the Government to act and urgently look again at the funding our local schools receive.”

All of the respondents said that low funding levels will have a negative impact on both teachers and pupils.