Most people naturally want to give children a good start in life, that’s why what happens to our local schools is so very important. Education is one way we ensure our young people have better opportunities than those we inherited from the last generation.
Yet, Crawley’s schools are in the midst of a financial crisis, with headteachers warning they may have to switch to a four-day week unless funding improves.
West Sussex County Council, our local Education Authority, and West Sussex MPs have asked the Government for better funding, but for all their photo ops there’s no more funding heading Crawley’s way. In fact, the funding deficit is set to grow.
It is not talk, but action which is now needed and with schools already at breaking point, Labour councillors proposed an amendment at last month’s Budget Meeting of West Sussex County Council which would have put aside £1.3m of emergency funding for local schools. Unfortunately, the Conservatives rejected the amendment.
While the Government talks of building an economy which can compete with the world, without developing the skills and training of the nation’s workforce the UK will struggle.
Labour-run Crawley Borough Council has created the town’s first skills strategy, designed to bring businesses and education providers together with the purpose of offering residents better career opportunities and helping to grow the nation’s economy for all. But we cannot do it alone, we need the school system back in good health. Our schools are blessed with hardworking teachers, but that is not enough when they lack the basic resources they need to do their jobs. If the Government has the money to experiment with Academies, Free Schools and Grammars, they have money to fund our local schools too.
A child entering school today won’t join the workforce until 2031, it is only then that we will know the full price of the Government’s failure to provide for our children and by that point it will be far too late.
Enough is enough. It’s time to put Crawley’s schools first and ensure that local kids have the educational opportunities they deserve.
Tahira Rana, Councillor for West Green