Upper Beeding
Image caption

Pupils taking part in Upper Beeding school’s campaign over funding

School governors in West Sussex say they are staging a “strike” this week in a protest over funding shortages.

In what is believed to be the first such action, governors from more than 20 schools will “withdraw their labour” on Friday.

A spokesman for governors from Upper Beeding primary said local schools faced a “funding crisis”.

But the Department for Education has said that school funding has been protected and is at record levels.

Governors are volunteers, such as parents or community representatives, so the decision to “strike” is a symbolic move rather than a refusal to carry out paid work.

But the governors taking part say that such an unprecedented move reflects the seriousness of their concern.

Governors at Upper Beeding primary school, near Steyning, have written to parents to say that local schools face deep problems with funding.

“What’s more, unless things change, it is only going to get worse.”

Parents have been warned by governors of fewer staff in school, the inability to replace equipment and cuts to hours with counsellors.

“This is the first time governors have taken action like this. I think it shows how passionately we feel about the funding crisis.

“Our job as governors is to help schools to give children the best possible start in life.

“We refuse to sit quietly by while their future is threatened,” said governors’ spokesman, Malcolm Gordon.

Head teachers and governors have been campaigning over school funding shortages for much of this academic year – warning of teacher job losses and narrowing subject options.

They have protested that budgets have not kept up with rising costs – and highlighted a report from the National Audit Office saying schools face £3bn in spending cuts.

It has also become an election issue – with competing claims and promises about school funding in England.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have made manifesto pledges to increase the overall level of school funding, as part of their wider plans for education spending.

The Conservatives have yet to publish their manifesto – but have defended their record in government, saying that school budgets have been protected and are at their highest ever level.