A West Sussex headteacher has been named person of the year for 2018 by weekly education newspaper TES.
Tanbridge House School’s Jules White has been leading the Worth Less? campaign for fairer funding for schools since 2015, which started in West Sussex as the area’s schools are some of the worst funded per pupil in the country.
The campaign has now gone national with around 2,000 headteachers marching on Downing Street in September to call for urgent Government action on the school funding crisis.
The TES article said: “White has cut through where union leaders can’t. He doesn’t have to take into account the politics of his organisation or carefully consider the pro and cons of speaking out versus insider lobbying.
“The head of Tanbridge House School in Horsham simply says exactly what he thinks about the reality of the funding problems, of which he has valuable first-hand knowledge. And that plain speaking has had a huge effect.
“The Worth Less? national school-funding campaign, which White launched, can justifiably take some credit for pushing the government into a decision, announced after last year’s general election, to boost school budgets by more than £1 billion. This year he has built on that and regularly rallies thousands of other heads across 40 local authorities.”
Jules topped TES’ list of ten people or groups of people whose efforts ‘have gone beyond what might be expected of their normal working lives, who have made a difference to many, many other teachers and learners in our schools and colleges’.
He said: “I’m proud to receive this award. If Worth Less? has done anything it’s shown the importance of schools and educational opportunities to our communities.
“Schools draw communities together and that’s why we must value them even more and fund them much, much better.
“I’ve been so well supported by headteachers, colleagues governors and most importantly parents and carers.
“Without the tenacious coverage of Karen Dunn and our campaigning local press too Worth Less? would never have come to local and then national attention
“We must all work together in 2019 for the funding and care that every child needs and deserves.”
• Karen Dunn, as education specialist for this newspaper, provided extensive coverage of the school funding issues. Karen is now a Local Democracy Reporter for West Sussex, a joint initiative between this newspaper and the BBC.
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