Secondary schools in Buckinghamshire face a ‘critical position’ with funding, headteachers have warned.
The Buckinghamshire Association of Secondary Teachers has written to Prime Minister Theresa May and Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, saying schools are in financial crisis and urgently need additional funding for the 2017-18 academic year.
They accuse the government of showing a “distressing misunderstanding of the reality of education funding in England, and a lack of empathy with all of us who have devoted our lives to providing the best possible education for the children in all of our schools”.
The letter is signed by Alan Rosen, headteacher of Aylesbury High School, and Pete Rowe, headteacher of Princes Risborough School, on behalf of all members of the Buckinghamshire Association of Secondary Headteachers.
It says: “We do not seek special treatment for our sector of schools, nor for Buckinghamshire, but ask that you urgently provide additional funding to all of the lowest-funded schools in England for the forthcoming financial year, pending the introduction of the delayed National Funding Formula (NFF).
“We strongly believe that to inflict yet another year of hardship on the schools, who for too many years have suffered the most from the iniquitous national funding set-up, would be extremely damaging.”
The association says, if based in Wandsworth, a typical Bucks secondary school would receive an extra £400,000 to £500,000 per year.
Even being funded at the levels of local authorities on Buckinghamshire’s borders would generate an additional £200,000 to £500,000, it claims.
“This scale of inequity is indefensible,” the letter read, “particularly when it is replicated every year and becomes incremental.”
The headteachers say there is additional money that should have been put to schools’ budgets for 2017-18, to enable the NFF to go ahead and ask for the sum allocated to be used to boost the lowest-funded schools pending the NFF.
They added: “Ms Greening has been quoted as saying that the NFF was delayed to ‘…avoid uncertainty for schools and local authorities during autumn 2016’; for all schools in our predicament, the opposite is true and it guarantees instability in education at a time when further instability is the last thing that we need.”