Council leader warns schools are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of funding woes

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council

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A COUNCIL boss is begging the government for more cash as the area’s schools face a ‘perfect storm’ of funding woes.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, has written to education secretary Justine Greening, pleading for urgent help to fix problems which have ‘built up over years of under-funding’.

The letter has been prompted by delays to the implementation of a new National Funding Formula for schools, something which headteachers and the council have been calling for.

Cllr Goldsmith said: ‘As things stand, central government policy is placing councils like West Sussex in a truly untenable position of presiding over real cuts to school budgets, to the long-term detriment of our children and their educational outcomes.

‘I have written to the secretary of state to say we urgently need support to resolve a number of funding issues caused by a range of policy changes and made worse by this recent delay.’

The council is in the process of preparing budget estimates for 2017/18 and beyond – and another council tax hike has not been ruled out.

Before 2015/16 year, the authority had not increased its council tax since 2010/11, despite having to maintain frontline services while slashing £162m from the budget.

National funding per pupil in England is £4,636, while in Sussex it stands at £4,198 – meaning the county’s school miss out on an extra £44.7m a year.