Changes to the way schools are allocated funding has led to problems amongst a group of local schools, says local MP Norman Baker who has now has thrown his weight behind teachers and parents from Priory School, Chailey School and Uckfield Community Technology College in their fight for a fair deal.
Norman Baker arranged a meeting at the Department of Education in London between the head teachers of the affected schools and David Laws, Lib Dem Minister for Schools, so raising concerns at the top level of government. The minister has promised to look into the case personally and will examine the way that East Sussex County Council is allocating funding.
Some local schools have seen hundreds of thousands of pounds cut from their annual budget while others seem awash with money. Potential impacts of these cuts have been raised by the head teachers of the affected schools including:
• Further increases in class sizes.
• Reduced ability to improve outcomes for the students, including vulnerable learners and students with special needs.
• Greater instability in staffing levels (retaining staff becomes more difficult when other schools can offer higher wages) and all our schools have been through restructuring rounds, including redundancies.
• An increasing ‘gap’ in educational resources between schools.
Last year the Lib Dems introduced the pupil premium, additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers. Without this the situation would be a lot worse.
“I am concerned that despite the Lib Dems bringing in measures at a national level, like the Pupil Premium to help disadvantaged students along, local Tories on the County Council have changed the criteria for school funding in a way that is unfair and has led to problems for many local institutions.”
“Parents are up in arms at the fact that some schools are being left behind in this way whilst others have such excessive budgets that they can afford to buy frivolities like an iPad for every child. More needs to be done to spread the wealth.”