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Henry Smith: Schools and funding, more money and more support

In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about schools funding and the support needed.

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Like many parents in Crawley I’m concerned about issues at Thomas Bennett Community College regarding changes announced by their parent body, Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT).

Immediately on being made aware of these pressures I spoke with TKAT management, and have raised the issue with the Department for Education. I’ve also spoken out in the House of Commons with the new Education Secretary and it’s a cause I continue to pursue.

Around one quarter of the school’s funds are going on PFI loan repayments, following its rebuild more than a decade ago. As Leader of West Sussex County Council at the time I called on the then-Government to ensure direct funding of the project, however Tony Blair’s administration stated that it was either PFI or no rebuilding of Thomas Bennett.

West Sussex schools are to receive an extra £28 million in funding through the National Funding Formula. I’m calling for additional financial support to recognise increasing costs borne by schools and, in particular, special educational needs.

I welcome assurances that there are to be more staff to support SEND students at Thomas Bennett. As a Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia & other Specific Learning Difficulties these are causes I’ll continue to raise.

Under the new National Funding Formula (NFF), Thomas Bennett Community College is to receive an additional 12.6 per cent increase in pupil-led funding from Government.

I’ll continue to pursue this situation with the Education Secretary, with the messages I’ve received from Crawley parents very much in mind.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Business

Annual apprenticeship graduation to take place at The Hawth

West Sussex County Council will be hosting its fourth annual apprenticeship graduation ceremony on 20 May at The Hawth, Crawley.

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The ceremony is open to all West Sussex residents who have completed their Higher/Degree and Advanced Apprenticeship from 1 January 2018 to 28 February 2019.

TV newsreader and journalist John Young will be opening and compering the event.

John said:

“I’m delighted to be invited back to host a second awards ceremony for West Sussex apprentices. We need a wide range of talent to enter the workforce and if the apprentices I met last year are anything to go by we’re in good hands.”

Graduates will celebrate their hard work and achievements with a traditional ceremony and can invite two guests. Light refreshments will be served during the registration and robing and each graduand will receive a certificate and commemorative pin to mark their success.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is hosting a business networking reception for apprenticeship employers and training providers to attend before joining the main ceremony.

The ceremony on 20 May is from 3pm-4.30pm. Attendance for you and two guests is free of charge, but registration is essential and must be done by 24 April. To find out more and book your place go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/graduation

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