HEADTEACHERS across Essex have banded together to launch a campaign against the imminent cuts to school funding in the region.
The Association of Secondary Headteachers in Essex (ASHE) are applying pressure on MPs in the area in the hope of tackling schools’ funding crisis.
Simon Thompson, Executive Director of ASHE, said: “This is a respectable and polite uprising, giving MPs some very difficult homework over how schools in England are funded.
“Essex Secondary Headteachers are applying pressure - not through unions or strike threats, but by well coordinated and relentlessly reasonable demands.”
The campaign is called Fund the 8 per cent and aims to point out the inadequacy of the Government’s new National Funding Formula that determines how much cash each school will get.
Mr Thompson added: “Regardless of government rhetoric about the National Funding Formula and extra funding, the reality is that schools are underfunded by 8 per cent.”
In response, headteachers from across Essex have written to their respective MPs outlining their genuine concern about the plans.
Fitzwimarc head Robert Harris has backed the campaign, stating: “This is not about how one school loses out more than another with the new formula. It is a recognition that there is simply not enough money in the system overall across the county. The opportunities that children currently have will be less than their older siblings as a direct result of this situation.
“Each school will tackle this in its own way, but the campaign is quite clear that fears about reduced staffing levels, increased class sizes, and reductions in curricular and pastoral provision are likely to become a reality.
“At Fitzwimarc, we will continue to do everything in our power to maintain the high standards of care and provision for which we are rightly known, but also feel that we do a disservice to the young people in our care if we do not highlight this situation.”
Andrew James, headteacher of Chase High School in Southend, said: “The bottom line is that the new National Funding Formula is an attempt to redistribute the education pot more fairly but there is no getting away from the fact that the pot to be distributed is simply not big enough.
“I am delighted to hear that, following Sir David Amess’s question to the Leader of the House of Commons, a debate has now been secured in Westminster Hall on the Future Funding Provision of Education in Southend.
“I sincerely hope that the movement that seems apparent on both sides of the House will lead to a rethink on the total amount made available to schools.”
Mr Thompson said: “This is an unprecedented show of unity, by Essex Secondary Headteachers, leading schools from across the spectrum including community, faith, foundation, grammar and academy, stating they are not going to put up with the unnecessary confusion and disruption being caused.
“Under the Government’s proposals, every school in Southend, Castle Point and Basildon will have difficult decisions to make with regard to spending.
“If you talk to headteachers, you will hear a deafening chorus of what they are most worried about - a shortage of funding and teachers.
“The Schools Minister Nick Gibb is hoping to weather the storm and is seemingly oblivious to the fast approaching tsunami.”