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Education cuts: Top school suggests parents give £10 a month

Marylebone School's Kat Pugh warns: 'We will run out of things to cut'

17 March, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Kat Pugh

A HEADTEACHER at one of the top schools in the country has written to her MP warning they are “reaching breaking point” from the government’s education funding cuts.

St Marylebone CE School’s Kat Pugh and chairwoman of governors Eliza Low, told the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative MP Mark Field they would soon “run out of things we can cut”.

The school, which is in the top 4 per cent of non-selectives for GCSE results, has this week been forced to contact parents by letter asking for monthly donations. The “outstanding” school in Marylebone High Street suggested donations of £10 a month, per family, but assured this was “entirely voluntary” and smaller amounts would also be welcomed.

“This could go a long way towards providing the ‘extras’ that our current budget simply cannot allow for,” the letter said. Ms Pugh said she had contacted Mr Field to fight on their behalf to stop the overall schools budget being decreased.

Her letter added: “The Department for Education claim that schools can find £3billion further savings by 2019/20. Such measures cannot be achieved without a negative effect on teaching, learning and pupil attainment, despite our doing our upmost to prevent this.

“There are only so many financial efficiencies a school can find before reaching breaking point. We will run out of things we can cut.” The school says that between 2014 and 2018 it will have received £927,853 less than before – that is around £867 per pupil. The new “funding formula” proposed by the government would only add to the problem for London schools, the school said, especially when combined with rising costs, including hikes in national insurance and pension contributions.

Ms Pugh told the West End Extra: “The funding formula in itself has a great principle as schools should receive fair funding, but the problem is that a lot of schools will lose out. “A number of London schools are terrific leading schools, but the loss to our budget year on year means we have to do just as much with so much less.”

She added that while asking for voluntary contributions was nothing new, they have never specified before how a certain amount would help.

“It’s chronic now,” she said. “I’ve seen this sort of letter with almost all the state school’s around here. “We can’t sustain the standards to which we brought our school when you are having to save £200k to £250k a year. It is huge.”

Mark Field has been urged to intervene

The DfE’s position is that the current system for distributing school funding is “unfair, opaque and outdated” and the changes would mean more funding for half of England’s school’s by 2018-19.

It added: “We recognise that schools are facing pressures, which is why we will continue to provide advice and support to help them use their funding in cost-effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services, so they get the best possible value for their pupils.”

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