Heads warn budget cuts could mean schools going down to a four-day week

West Sussex heads tell parents they will consider "modifying opening hours" to cope

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Cuts to school budgets have prompted scores of headteachers to warn parents that schools may have to consider shutting one day a week.

The “crippling effect” of underfunding in West Sussex combined with rises in costs, has prompted heads to consider “modifying opening hours” says a letter sent out by all schools in the county.

The letter to parents says school leaders have made “every conceivable cut to our provision” they are now faced with reducing basic services.

Peter Woodman, head of the Weald school in Billingshurst and chair of the West Sussex Secondary Heads’ Executive, told the Mail on Sunday: “What is frightening is when you start saying ‘do we have enough money to open five days a week?’ We’re not saying we’re going there yet. We’re saying on a range of things, absolutely everything needs to be explored.”

There are 238 state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in West Sussex. The letter is part of the Worth Less? Campaign, which is campaigning for fair funding for schools in West Sussex.

West Sussex is one of the lowest funded areas in England. The Worth Less? Campaign said that this year West Sussex children received £44m less than the national average and it is urging the government to pledge a minimum of £20m transitional funding to West Sussex for the new financial year beginning April 2017.

Earlier this year, education secretary Justine Greening said that the new school funding formula would be delayed until 2018-19. It was originally expected to be in place by 2017-18.

In her written statement to Parliament, Ms Greening said the government was firmly committed to introducing fairer funding for schools, high needs and early years. "This is an important reform, which will fairly and transparently allocate funding on the basis of schools’ and children’s actual needs, rather than simply on historic levels of funding tied to out of date local information," she added.

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