LETTER: Always bottom of pupil funding

Your letters
Your letters

It is good to see the momentum and support, including from our local MPs, behind the ‘Worth Less’ campaign to achieve fair funding for West Sussex schools.

But reading the articles on school funding from Messrs Quinn and Herbert in WSCT (Page 37, 6/10/16), you would think this is a new issue and that successive Conservative Governments have been ignorant of the problem.

For Mr Herbert to say his Government ‘should be credited for committing to this major reform when previous Governments have failed to do so’ is disingenuous. The problem has existed since the 1970s, perhaps before; West Sussex always ranked at the bottom of the per pupil funding league table.

As a parent governor of three local state schools and chairman of the West Sussex Federation of Parent Teacher Associations for much of the 1980s, I spent hours in meetings with WSCC Chairman of Education and the Director of Education lobbying for improved funding. A review of the archives of the WSCT will reveal scores of letters and articles on the poor comparative funding of schools in the county.

I remember being berated by Nicholas Soames, then MP for Crawley, with a call shouted down Victoria Street as we were both walking towards the House of Commons that ‘Laurence you were being a bit unkind in your letter to the WSCT on education funding’; my response, ‘then Nicholas please do something about it’!

More than 30 years later the problem still exists. Yet we have had Conservative Governments from 1979 to 1997 and from 2010 to today, a total of 24 years, but still no resolution to the problem by this Conservative Government to help pupils of West Sussex, a county run by their Conservative colleagues.

To add insult to injury, Mr Herbert then castigates local head teachers for challenging the distraction from the funding crisis of the Government focus on funding new grammar schools and academies, when they rightly call for the existing schools they lead to be fully funded and resourced.

So my challenge to Messrs Quinn and Herbert is ‘Facta non Verba’ and in case their Latin is not up to scratch, that’s ‘Deeds not Words’.

L. N. Price

Smithbarn, Horsham

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