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School funding in Buckinghamshire discussed as County Council leader meets government minister

| September 8, 2016

During a meeting between the leader of Buckinghamshire County Council and the government’s Minister of State for School Standards discussions included key issues facing the education system in Buckinghamshire which includes some of the lowest-funded schools in the country.

The meeting, held on Tuesday 6th September 2016, between Martin Tett and Nick Gibb was arranged by Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan.

Topics discussed included 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 all in 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, however upper schools such as Waddesdon, 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 per pupil).
3. Aylesbury High (£4,093 per pupil).
4. Aylesbury Grammar (£4,097 per pupil).
5. Sir William Borlase’s (£4,101 per pupil).
6. Beaconsfield High School (£4,111 per pupil).
7. Dr Challoner’s High (£4,120 per pupil).

Also in the bottom 10% (out of around 3,000 schools) :

John Hampden (£4,161 per pupil).
Royal Grammar (£4,166 per pupil).
Wycombe High School (£4,181 per pupil).
Sir Henry Floyd (£4,197 per pupil).
Chesham Grammar (£4,259 per pupil).
Waddesdon Church of England (£4,353 per pupil).
John Colet (£4,435 per pupil).
Great Marlow (£4,449 per pupil).
Cottesloe (£4,508 per pupil).
Princes Risborough (£4,523 per pupil).
Holmer Green (£4,528 per pupil).
Chalfonts Community College (£4,528 per pupil).
Burnham Grammar (£4,552 per pupil).
Buckingham (£4,559 per pupil).

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