Jules White, Head Teacher at Tanbridge House School, and Sally Bromley, principal at The College of Richard Collyer, have met to discuss the chronic underfunding of education and how their campaigns for significant education spend by the Treasury can support one another.
The #Raisetherate Campaign highlights how sixth form funding is in crisis. Two deep cuts to funding were made after 2010 and the national funding rate (‘the rate’) for 16 and 17 year olds has been frozen at £4,000 per student, per year since 2013. Funding for 18 year olds was cut to just £3,300 per student in 2014. The running costs of schools and colleges have increased sharply since 2010 and the government has imposed a range of new requirements on institutions. This has left much less money for schools and colleges to spend on the front line education of students, at a time when the needs of young people have become increasingly complex (for example the sharp rise in students experiencing mental health problems).
Research from London Economics has shown that the rate needs to increase by at least £760 per student, per year, to ensure that schools and colleges can continue to deliver a high quality, internationally-competitive education. The campaign calls on the government to make two commitments in the 2019 spending review: Raise the rate for 16, 17 and 18 year old students to at least £4,760 per year and then raise the rate in line with inflation each year.
Sally Bromley said: “The ongoing underinvestment in sixth form education is bad for students, bad for our international competitiveness and bad for social mobility. We are calling on the government to #raisetherate – before it’s too late.”
Jules White has been spearheading the Worthless? Campaign, initially a county wide campaign, but now with national support, since 2016. Jules’s response to the Secretary of State’s announcement last month, to increase funding for students with a Special Education Need, was hard hitting: “The funding for both SEND and High Needs pupils has been woefully lacking in recent years. Demand for Local Authority High Needs funding has grown by 35% in just four years, whilst mainstream schools have seen their budgets savaged by 8% real terms cuts since 2010.
“As a consequence, the most vulnerable children and their families in our country have seen support stripped back beyond any reasonable levels and a ‘SEND crisis’ is upon us.”