School funding on the agenda as council leader meets government minister

Key issues facing the education system in Buckinghamshire – including some of the lowest-funded schools in the country – were on the agenda when the leader of the County Council met the government’s Minister of State for School Standards.

Tuesday’s meeting between Martin Tett and Nick Gibb was arranged byChesham and AmershamMP Cheryl Gillan andalso covered high building costs, the government’s academy programme, the principle of extending Bucks’ grammar system and the challenge of making progress at the small minority of schools which require improvement.

Despite these issues, more than 90% of the county’s schools are either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ according to education watchdog Ofsted, which Martin said was a credit to Buckinghamshire.

Martin said: “It was good to meet with Nick Gibb and explain first-hand the problems Buckinghamshire has because of the very low funding for its schools. The seven poorest funded secondary schools in England are allin Buckinghamshire.

“There is also the challenge of providing school places with the high cost of building schools in the south east and the issue of teacher recruitment in an area where house prices are so high and we are in competition with London.

“Nick listened, appreciated the problem and explained what the Government was doing to make school funding fairer across the country. He was also very supportive of our excellent schools.”

On the subject of grammar schools, Martin said: “We have a growth agenda in Buckinghamshire with potentially tens of thousands of new houses so we will need the equivalent of a new grammar school to cope with the increased number of pupils. We spoke about how we could provide that given the current restrictions on new grammar schools.”

Cheryl Gillan said: “I was delighted that the minister took the time to meet with me and Martin Tett on the crucial issues that are currently facing schools in Buckinghamshire. It was a positive discussion, and the minister seemed to appreciate the current pressures on our education system, and was also keen to praise the great successes of schools in our county. I look forward to working with him in the future.”

The seven schools with the lowest funding are all grammars, howeverupper schoolssuch asWaddesdon, John Colet, Great Marlow, Cottesloe and Princes Risborough are also in the bottom ten per cent.

According to the schools allocation index 2015-2016, the seven secondary schools with the lowest funding in the country are:
1. Royal Latin School (£3,996 per pupil).
2. Dr Challoner’s Grammar(£4,068).
3. Aylesbury High (£4,093).
4. Aylesbury Grammar (£4,097).
5. Sir William Borlase’s (£4,101).
6. Beaconsfield High School (£4,111).
7. Dr Challoner’s High(£4,120).

Alsoin the bottom10per cent(out of around 3,000schools):
John Hampden (£4,161).
Royal Grammar (£4,166).
Wycombe High School (£4,181).
Sir Henry Floyd (£4,197).
Chesham Grammar (£4,259).
Waddesdon Church of England (£4,353).
John Colet (£4,435).
Great Marlow (£4,449).
Cottesloe (£4,508).
Princes Risborough (£4,523).
Holmer Green (£4,528).
Chalfonts Community College (£4,528).
Burnham Grammar (£4,552).
Buckingham (£4,559).