Austerity goes on for Horsham children


I wonder how many readers have children or grandchildren at one of Horsham’s excellent secondary schools.

I imagine they will have been as annoyed and frustrated as I was (as a former headteacher) at the chancellor’s response in the Budget to what teachers and headteachers have been telling him for months, years even.

£400m for ‘little extras’ has been described as ‘patronising’, which indeed it is. But it is not just that.

Either Philip Hammond is totally ignorant of the plight of schools up and down the country and especially in West Sussex, which has for years received less funding for its schools than the rest of the country, or he and his government don’t regard the education of our children as of any importance.

Which is it? Because there is no excuse for the lack of response to repeated arguments put to the government about the situation schools are in.

As Jules White, head of Tanbridge House School, put it, when heads visited Downing Street recently, ‘Surely 2,000 heads all saying the same thing can’t be wrong’. Heads are angry and frustrated and I should think many parents and grandparents are, too.

As one teaching union leader said, ‘To suggest that all schools need is a nominal sum to fund the ‘little extras’ when they have faced years of real-terms cuts to budgets is deeply insulting and disingenuous’.

You will have probably read that the amount allocated to each school wouldn’t pay for one teaching assistant. So austerity goes on for children and schools.

Does this matter? Yes, of course it does. Some children - despite the very best efforts of teachers and headteachers - will not be receiving the quality of education that they should be receiving.

I would urge parents, if they want the best education for their children, to write to their MP and let him know your feelings. Surely it matters that every child gets the best possible start in life and, if you care about this for your child, please don’t do nothing.

Your combined voices could make a difference.

Tony Elder

Durrants Drive, Faygate