Catharine Darnton, Headteacher at Gillotts School joined Headteachers representing over 25 counties from Cornwall to Cumbria to personally deliver a letter to the chancellor, Philip Hammond on Tuesday, imploring that he reinstates the £1.7 billion that will be removed from school budgets during the financial period 2015-20.
The letter states, “Under the new formula and using the Department for Education’s own statistics, in 2018-19 the average funded secondary school in Oxford (1400 pupils) will receive £4,050,200 less than the same size school in Hackney. It is extraordinary that some English secondary schools will receive 60% less funding than others of the same size. Headteachers, students and their parents do not understand why every child has to sit the same Key Stage assessments or GCSEs while levels of capacity, resource and support are entirely different depending on where they live and where they go to school.”
Catharine joined members of Worth Less? a campaign group for low funded counties and their schools. It emanated in West Sussex and has grown over the past two years from representing 17 counties to over 25 counties now.
Last month, Catharine sent a letter to her parents asking them to lobby our MP John Howell. She said, “Schools such as ours know how challenging and difficult it is when budgets are reduced and squeezed to the limit. The problem is, however, that in order to fund these protections, the Government is limiting what many other low funded schools will gain under the new formula. Crucially, these differences will not last for a year or two, they will last for years and years. Far from being resolved, your child’s education will still be at the behest of a post code funding lottery. Some schools with the same socio-economic characteristics will be able to afford teacher/pupil class sizes of 20, whilst others will have to make do with 35.”
After going to London on Tuesday Catharine said, “The fact that 50 or so Headteachers, from Cornwall to Cumbria, feel strongly enough to take the time away from school and travel to London to have their, and their counties. voices heard about school funding was quite humbling. I had never met any of them before but it was really heartening to be amongst so many who continue to work so hard to give young people the education they deserve, despite the very difficult financial situations that we are facing.”