Release date: 31/01/2017

Commenting on news that school governors in West Sussex are warning that, unless their "urgent concerns" about a lack of funding are addressed, they will withdraw their services, Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, said:

“Many governing boards across England face significant challenges trying to balance school budgets. Like the schools in West Sussex, the National Governors’ Association is concerned that austerity budgets will have a real and detrimental effect on the welfare and education of young people. We have called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to increase the overall amount of funding for schools in his next Budget, or risk the future prosperity of our country.                                        

“With this act, the governors of West Sussex and the wider campaign: ‘WorthLess? West Sussex Schools Campaign for Fairer Funding’ have raised awareness about this important issue. Their frustration is understandable and shared by many governing boards in England. In our last survey of school governors and trustees, conducted jointly with TES, of 5000 respondents more than three quarters felt ‘negative’ and ‘very negative’ about the government’s performance; lack of funding being the overriding concern. 

"The current situation means governing boards are being forced to make unpalatable decisions. It may even deter new volunteers from coming forward or remaining as governors and trustees; but we urge governing boards not to withdraw from their role when, more than ever, our schools depend on strong governing boards to make decisions in the best interests of children. While there is obvious PR merit in the action taken in West Sussex, governing boards of maintained schools and academies have a legal responsibility for the financial oversight of their school, which includes deciding how the budget is spent.  

"We have been encouraging governing boards across the country to make their voices heard about their financial situation and lobby their MPs. If schools in every area were as active as those in West Sussex, the Government would surely have to take note.”

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