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Thame Headteacher speaks out on the “deception” behind school funding

David Wybron, the Headteacher of Thame’s Lord Williams’s school has spoken out on the “deception” around school funding.

 

“Dear Parent/Carer

Firstly, thank you for all the messages of support following the Headteacher actions in London on Friday 28th September. Like you, I was staggered to discover in the following week that:

  • The Department for Education’s figures on spending on schools included spending made by families on university tuition fees (loans to students) and independent (private) school fees.

This adds billions of pounds to headline data but has absolutely no effect on funding received by schools. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has again confirmed that schools have faced an 8% cut in real terms between 2009-10 and 2017-18.

I have written before that the School’s Budget does not include Sixth Form funding and like other schools with a Sixth Form we have been absorbing a 20% reduction in funding for sixth formers. This is alongside increasing staffing costs and inflationary pressures.

I will be writing to our MP, John Howell, and the Department again about something which I can only call deception and would make an appeal for at least an honest statement on resourcing rather that the spurious figures which have been officially distributed. We teach about values in schools. It leaves me wondering what sorts of values are being practised by the Government in terms of funding for schools. I would urge you, if you have time, to write to The Rt Hon Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education at the Department for Education and local MPs about the situation.

Please find below the letter from the Worth Less? Campaign which is being sent to thousands of parents today across the country.

Thank you for your support

David Wybron

 

Dear Parent/Carer

Update – School Funding Campaign

You will be aware that 2000 Headteachers attended a rally in Westminster and delivered a letter to 11 Downing Street on Friday 28 September, as part of a campaign by Worth Less?, a grass-roots group working for improved school funding. Amongst them were a group of 35 Headteachers from Oxfordshire. Thank you for the support that many parents gave these Headteachers, and others that could not attend but supported their actions.

It is clear from the emails that colleagues and I received, that parents overwhelmingly support the need for much improved investment in our schools. As soon as we receive a reply from the Chancellor, we will let you know. I am sure everyone will watch with interest to see how he responds to our requests during the Autumn Statement (Budget) on Monday 29 October.

Following recent headlines, Headteachers across the country hope very much that the Government and the Department for Education, in particular, will stop providing parents and the wider public with misleading information about spending on schools. This week’s scathing letter to the Department of Education (DfE) from the UK Statistics Authority underlines all of the concerns that Headteachers have repeatedly stated over the past three years.

Analysis by the BBC shows it is entirely wrong to suggest that Government spending on schools is much higher than in other comparable countries. The statistic misleadingly chosen by the Department for Education included spending made by families on university tuition fees (loans to students) and independent (private) school fees. This adds billions of pounds to headline data but has absolutely no effect on funding received by schools. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed that schools have faced an 8% cut in real terms between 2009-10 and 2017-18

We hope that DfE ministers will now focus on the key issues – investing adequately in schools and supporting much improved recruitment and retention of teachers, in order to rebuild trust and credibility with the teaching profession.

Parents have also asked how they can support the drive for improved funding. In light of this we are able to let you know that parent groups have lobbied parliament (10 October) and there will also be a national day of parental action on 19 October. For more information about 19 October, please search #parentsteachersunite on Twitter or Facebook.

We would again like to thank you for your support and confirm that our campaign will remain reasonable and determined with a single goal of ensuring that every school and pupil receive a much better deal in the near future.

Yours sincerely

Headteacher”

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