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Education in the media: 3 October

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Independent schools, School spending


Today’s news review looks at our plans to encourage independent schools to set up or sponsor a local state school in order to drive improvements in education, and local concerns in West Sussex about school funding.

Independent schools

Today, Monday 3 October, the new chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, Mike Buchanan, is expected to warn that independent schools cannot deliver effective help to state schools if they are “forced” to work together. This follows our recent consultation document, Schools that Work for Everyone, which proposes that independent schools set up or sponsor a local state school to continue to drive improvements in the state education system.

The comments were covered by the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and BBC Online.

However, the coverage fails to recognise that there are a number of independent schools that already have partnerships in place with state schools to help raise standards.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We recognise that many independent schools already have successful partnerships with state schools, and we welcome the pledge from the independent school sector to continue to help to drive further improvements in the state education system.


We want to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. We believe independent schools could and should do more in recognition of the tax benefits they receive. That is why we are proposing that independent schools with the capacity and capability should sponsor academies or set up a new free school, or offer a proportion of places to less wealthy children.


We are urging everyone to look at the detail in the consultation, join the debate and have their say.

School funding

The West Sussex Secondary Heads’ Executive has said that schools in the area may soon be forced to close for one day a week because of a ‘financial crisis’.

More than 150 state primary and secondary school heads in West Sussex have told parents in a letter that they were considering cost-cutting measures including modifying school opening hours, unless they are given an emergency £20 million injection of cash.

This was picked up by the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror. However, the coverage fails to take into account that we have protected the schools budget and are committed to introducing a national funding formula so all schools are funded fairly.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The Government is committed to making Britain a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone, regardless of background.


We want all schools, including those in West Sussex, to have access to the resources they need so that every pupil regardless of background or ability can reach their full potential. That’s why we have protected the schools budget so that, as pupil numbers increase, so will the amount of money for our schools – in 2016-17 that will total over £40 billion, the highest on record.


We are firmly committed to introducing a national funding formula so that all schools are funded fairly – both to address the historic unfairness in the system and also so that areas with the highest need attract the most funding.

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