Wycombe Labour today joins the campaign opposing proposals to shift £10 million from the education of Bucks children who are disadvantaged to the education of children who are not.
It calls on Councillor Zahir Mohammed, the responsible Tory cabinet member on Bucks County Council, not to renege on his commitment to closing the gap between the most disadvantaged children and their peers.
Rachel Knight, Wycombe Labour’s spokesperson on education, said, “It is disgraceful that Bucks County Council is even thinking about shifting this money from the education of disadvantaged children. We all know that funding for education is hitting new depths under this Government. However, Bucks has the widest gap in the country between the
achievement of disadvantaged children at GCSE level and the achievement of their peers. Moreover, while the rest of the country has improved the proportion of children reaching the required level of attainment at Key Stage 2, Bucks has flat-lined.
Cllr Mohammed has committed to closing this gap and has made great play of setting up a project to help. However, it turns out this may all be empty words – if you are committed to helping disadvantaged children, you don’t take funding away and give it to the better off.
Taking the money from disadvantaged children will just make the gap wider. “
The proposals were put forward by a sub-group of the Schools Forum, an advisory body, predominantly comprised of Headteachers and Chairs of Governors of schools in Bucks. BCC put the proposals out for consultation with a deadline for comment on 18 December.
The proposals will be discussed again at the Forum’s public meeting on 8 January when a recommendation will be made to Councillor Zahir Mohammed. His comments to date suggest he is broadly in favour of the proposals.
The proposals would shift £10 million in 2016/7 from those elements of the schools’ funding formula that relate to income deprivation and low prior attainment of pupils to more general factors. The result is that schools which serve the most disadvantaged areas in Buckinghamshire will receive less funding than currently and those in more affluent areas
will receive more funding.
In the secondary sector, out of the ten main 'winners', nine are grammar schools. Out of the ten main 'losers', nine are Upper Schools, mainly those serving the most disadvantaged areas.
In the primary sector, the proposals, if agreed, would shift funding away from schools with the most disadvantaged intakes.
“Losers” in the Wycombe area include
- Sir William Ramsey School
- The Highcrest Academy
- Oakridge School
- Highworth Combined School
“Winners” in the Wycombe area include
- The Royal Grammar School
- Wycombe High School
- Tylers Green Middle School
- Great Kingshill C/E Combined
These proposals represent an ‘about turn’ on the decision made by then Cabinet member for Education, Cllr Appleyard, in relation to 2015/16 school budgets. Following a consultation, Cllr Appleyard decided to target more funding towards children who were socially and economically disadvantaged and to schools with high levels of pupils with low
attainment than was previously the case.