King’s gets funding rise
KING S School in Ottery St Mary has received its largest ever Government grant – nearly £1 million - to fund sixth form education.
KING'S School in Ottery St Mary has received its largest ever Government grant - nearly £1 million - to fund sixth form education.
For 2008 to 2009 £950,955 will be allocated to run courses for post-16 education, up from the previous year's figure of £847,786.
The grant marks a 26 per cent rise from the 2006/2007 figure of £753,629 - and reflects an influx of new post-16 students.
The end of the 2006 school year saw 154 students stay on for A-levels, but last year 204 post-16 pupils began on the register.
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Headteacher Faith Jarrett welcomed the positive signs for the school, saying: "We have seen a significant rise in LSC income over the last four years, and a dramatic rise in students staying on into Post-16.
"This increase is very much in line with the vision articulated by the Government and we have been very pleased to welcome so many students back to continue their education."
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However, not all schools did so well; the grant for Sidmouth College was £488,950, a fall from the previous year's figure of £539,415.
Head of Sidmouth College David Birch denied it would affect the quality of education despite the numbers of sixth formers increasing from about 120 to around 140 next term.
"The grant will not affect pupils' standard of education or the courses we offer next year," he said. "Although the figures show a drop, I don't think previous funding history is a useful comparison because of different funding mechanisms over the years."
Mr Birch said he looked forward to the day the Devon County Council took over education funding - claiming current Learning and Skills Council funding had not favoured the county.
DCC education spokesman David Hutchings agreed: "Devon schools are not fairly funded. We have dropped from 144th to 146th out of 149 local authorities across the country.
"We have repeatedly made the case to Government, not for special treatment, but for our Devon pupils and students to be treated fairly.
"Every pupil in a Devon school gets around £350 less a year than the national average. In a 1,000-pupil secondary school this would pay for 10 extra teachers."
The spending levels were released after East Devon MP Hugo Swire challenged Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell about post-16 provision in East Devon.
LSC Devon director Dr Chris Roberts said: "To determine pupil numbers, we look at the figures for the current year and the estimated number that the school provides for the coming year.
"If the allocation proves wrong because there are more [or less] pupils than expected, the following year's funding reflects this.