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