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Invoices in the wilderness

It might catch on. Faced with the same crippling deficits that have hit schools across the country, one chairman of governors has arrived at a novel solution: send the bill to the man in charge.

The Rev Gary Barrett, chairman of governors at Pevensey and Westham school in Sussex, has sent an invoice for pound;52,657 directly to Education Secretary Charles Clarke. "The deficit we are facing will mean cuts to our support staff of at least a third and one teacher has been told their contract is unlikely to be renewed," says Rev Barrett. "I decided to write to him to tell him that East Sussex could not afford to meet that shortfall so could he deal with it." Rev Barrett says he is surprised not to have received Mr Clarke's payment, despite sending the bill several weeks ago:

"I have just sent off another letter to chase it up." We advise Rev Barrett not to hold his breath.

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