School Funding across Cheshire West and Chester
(Posted on 31/01/17)
31st January 2017
You may be aware that Christleton High School featured in an article in the current edition of The Chester Chronicle, which focused on proposed cuts to school funding across Cheshire West and Chester. Blacon, Tarporley and Helsby High Schools were also featured as being at risk of funding cuts.
Cheshire schools, in common with schools across the UK, do indeed face a challenging financial scenario but I want to assure you, that the proposed cuts will not impact on Christleton any greater than on other local schools. In fact, Christleton High School is particularly well placed to address these challenges and minimise their impact.
As a school, we remain heavily over-subscribed and academically, successful. We have a record of strong financial management and our planning to deal with any budget reductions is already well-advanced.
It seems likely that all schools will face some difficult decisions in the months ahead, but our main priority will be to protect the quality of teaching and learning at Christleton and maintain the standards and performance that underpinned our current "Outstanding" rating by Ofsted.
The Chronicle article was in part, based on recent National Audit Office comments on the budget challenges facing the Education sector nationally, which confirmed that inflationary pressures throughout the lifetime of this parliament, will outpace overall funding by more than 8%.
In addition, the article highlighted the potential impact of a new National Funding Formula for Schools. This is currently out for consultation but, if implemented, would result in money being taken from Cheshire schools and redistributed to schools elsewhere in the country.
Whilst it is right that schools with a high proportion of children from deprived backgrounds should receive greater funding, it should not, I believe, be at the expense of the basic funding for all students.
Cheshire schools already receive well below the national average of funding per student and these proposed changes will only make the challenges more acute. Whilst the precise amounts have yet to be confirmed, all schools within Cheshire West and Chester will lose out.
Along with local constituents, my Headteacher colleagues and our professional bodies, I have already made representations to our local MP and I will also be providing my own comments and feedback to the consultation process, before it closes on 22 March 2017.
Whilst I recognise that this is still a consultation process, even if the financial outlook does become more positive following these representations, there can be little doubt that there are challenging times ahead and some difficult decisions will need to be made.
However, I feel it is very important to personally reassure you, that we are working very hard on our future budget and will do all we can, to ensure that the impact and disruption on teaching and learning here at Christleton, is minimised. We remain immensely proud of what we do, the difference we make and the opportunities we create for our young people, and the efforts of everyone at Christleton High School, will be focused on protecting those values.
A D Stenhouse
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