Parent's class size protest

By Roddy AshworthA PARENT has removed her child from a school after learning the size of the youngster's class was due to rise by 14 pupils.Howard Williamson, headteacher of cash-strapped Cann Hall Primary School in Clacton, has announced four teachers would have to leave due to a funding shortfall.

By Roddy Ashworth

A PARENT has removed her child from a school after learning the size of the youngster's class was due to rise by 14 pupils.

Howard Williamson, headteacher of cash-strapped Cann Hall Primary School in Clacton, has announced four teachers would have to leave due to a funding shortfall.

Their classes will be merged with others, seeing class sizes rise from 24 pupils each to more than 35.


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Mr Williamson said he had no choice but to lose the teachers because he was unable to balance the budget for the forthcoming year due to Government cuts.

But Tracey Waddell, of Constable Avenue, Clacton, said she was going to remove her six-year-old daughter Shannon from the school because her class would be too large.

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“As of Monday she will be going to another school. I'm not having her put in a class of 38 children. She should be in a class of 23 or 24,” she added.

“My other daughter is in Year Five and I am happy to leave her here only because it's her last year.”

Maria Tyler, whose two sons George, eight, and Andrew, seven, attend Cann Hall Primary School, was one of a group of parents who had a meeting with Mr Williamson to discuss the school's problem.

“I'm not happy the Government can make these cuts. Education is important. If the children don't get the assistance at this age, by the time they get to secondary school they will not have the basics and be behind others,” she said.

“One of my boys has 27 in his class at the moment. That's going to go to 36. That is an awful lot to have in a class.

“From September it will be really bad. I think someone from the Government should come down and see what's happening.”

Mr Williamson said the effect of the Government funding shortfall this year was an £85,000 deficit for the school.

“I am not allowed to set a deficit budget. We have made some Draconian cuts. We have no money in our budget for new library or textbooks or equipment,” he added.

“We have saved £18,000 by abolishing our supply teaching budget, so now we have to cover absence internally.

“I share the parents' concerns. It would be fantastic if we could just carry on, but we just don't have the funds.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “The school's action represents a step backwards in the education services.

“The objective was smaller classes and better resources, but this represents neither. We understand Essex schools are having to take harsh decisions in order to try to balance the books.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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