The King’s School in Ottery St Mary stands to lose £123,000 by 2020 in funding shake-up

Rob Gammon, headteacher of The King's School

Rob Gammon, headteacher of The King's School - Credit: Archant

Headteacher left ‘very disappointed’ by new ‘fairer funding proposals that are hitting cash-strapped schools

The King’s School stands to lose £123,000 by 2020 under the Government’s new ‘fairer funding’ proposals.

County councillor Claire Wright said she was left reeling by news that several of East Devon’s ‘chronically under-funded’ schools will suffer from further cuts and has called on parents to fight for the sake of their children’s education.

For the Ottery academy, the ‘fairer funding’ formula - unveiled by education secretary Justine Greening this week - represents a 2.9 per cent loss from its already ‘over-stretched’ budget.

Headteacher Rob Gammon (pictured) expressed his disappointment that the school will be one of the worst hit. He said: “The King’s School received £263,900 less in funding than a similar-sized school funded at the national average in 2016/17.

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“We have called for some time for a review of school funding and, whilst we welcome the move to review the system, we are very disappointed that the proposed formula would see The King’s School take a further reduction from our current budget position by £123,000.

“The impact of this will be considerable given the school’s rising costs. We will be encouraging all our stakeholders to respond to the Government’s consultation in order to raise the issues highlighted and the impact on schools such as ours.”

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The aim of the national shake-up is to redistribute money across the country and end ‘historic unfairness’ in funding that particularly affects rural schools.

Sidmouth College stands to lose £56,000 a year and primary schools across the region look set to be similarly affected.

Councillor Wright – who has a daughter at King’s - said: “Devon schools receive around £300 per pupil less funding than the average across the country, so already they are suffering from long-term chronic under-funding.

“This was the reason that Conservative MPs lobbied the Government to change the funding formula and we thought it was good news.

“Then we found out it means further cuts. Not only are our schools trying to cope with increased cost pressures, they will have to cope with even less money under a so-called fairer funding formula. It’s farcical.

“My main message is to lobby MPs furiously. There will be a consultation running until March 22, so parents and anyone who cares about our education really must lobby MPs in their hundreds with the message that this is unacceptable.

“As a parent, I am concerned. King’s is an excellent school and it does really well with the resources it has, but I think any parent is going to be concerned that if it’s already struggling, what impact will it have on our children’s education?

“Understandably, no-one wants to take money from the big city schools in deprived areas, but to have such a big discrepancy across the country is quite wrong.”

A letter sent to all county councillors last week from the Devon Association of Primary Headteachers (DAPH) and the Devon Association of Secondary Schools (DASH) highlighted existing concerns over escalating funding pressures.

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