Grammar schools call for better funding

An alliance of grammar schools is fighting formore funding to relieve pressure on their teachers.

By Tom Burton
Friday, 27th February 2015, 9:12 am
Mark Sturgeon
Mark Sturgeon

Aylesbury High, Aylesbury Grammar, the Royal Latin and Sir Henry Floyd grammar schools have jointly written to the government’s Education Funding Agency and to parents of the four schools, pointing out that 19 of the lowest-funded schools in England are in Bucks.

It also says our schools are set to receive 15 per cent lower than the minimum funding level across the country – which is causing ‘equal pain’.

They want the government to rethink this formula so both selective and nonselective secondary schools receive an ‘equitable’ share.

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The county council has also joined the fight to challenge what it describes as an ‘insufficient’ cut of the government’s £280 million schools 

Mark Sturgeon, headteacher of Aylesbury Grammar School, said: “They want us to do more, with less.

“That puts our staff under pressure when there are already stresses in teaching and puts headteachers in a very difficult situation.

“It’s not about how we want to spend the money, it’s because our budget has been reduced significantly while costs continue to rise.

“It’s not a case of ‘what have we missed out on?’ It’s that we don’t think the formula has an equitable funding allowance.”

Mr Sturgeon, who is half-way through his first year as head, was keen to stress it is not solely grammar schools which are set to remain under-funded and the money should not be taken away from 
early years or high needs schools.

Mike Appleyard, cabinet member for education, said: “Buckinghamshire remains an area with high educational attainment with high percentages of good and outstanding schools but Bucks schools are less well funded than most other local authorities.

“In an effort to partly recognise that, the government has awarded the county £17m to allocate to schools, whose total budget is around £280m but this was insufficient to meet all the needs.

“The council has had to manage the conflicting demands of early years, special education needs, primary and secondary schools.

“We are continuing to challenge the government about the levels of funding in Buckinghamshire.”