Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders


Call for funding parity

If personalising learning is the government's byword, personalising funding should follow. Despite the promise of three-year budgets, the system of distribution remains flawed and unfair.

Authorities like Staffordshire have been at the bottom of the funding league for over a decade. Our complaint is not that we are one of the lowest funded - someone has to be. We complain because we believe the gap in funding continues to be unacceptably large and is seriously disadvantaging our pupils.

Schools in different circumstances should, of course, receive differential funding. However, it is difficult to see why similar sized secondary schools in different shire authorities should have budgets varying by as much as a half million pounds.

In a fair system, pupils with similar learning needs are entitled to similar levels of provision, wherever they live - an equality of opportunity. This is not provided by the current system.

However, an activity-led funding model would provide this basic fairness. It would factualise levels of provision available for the learner with different levels of local funding.

Several authorities are now trialling this approach and we hope government will take it seriously so that all young people receive their fair entitlement.

Funding should be based on learner needs rather than global proxy indicators. Post 16 funding has moved in this direction so why not the whole system?

Geoff Cooper
Workforce Remodelling Coordinator, Staffordshire LEA

Don't focus on minority

I am dismayed by the current media emphasis on disruptive pupils and supposedly poor school discipline across the country. It's damaging not only to our schools but also to the self-esteem of the thousands of young people who genuinely want to learn.

I am always delighted to work with young people and I feel our schools generally reflect the very highest standards of positive discipline and impressive, responsible pupils who are a source of great pride and promise.

In the run up to the general election the political posturing on proposed education policies only serves to present a very negative image of education to the public at large. In the end it's our young people who lose out.

Jackie Parker, Assistant Head, Duffryn High School, Newport

GTC review

At the end of its fourth year, the GTC commissioned a top down review of its performance from the Audit Commission. As well as making suggestions on structure and strategic direction, the commission commented favourably on the GTC's relations with those teachers with whom it has direct and email contact.

However, the commission rightly emphasised that the GTC has not yet reached the majority of teachers in England and has urged it to continue to improve in this respect.

Much of the GTC's advice given to the DEfS has been effective, e.g. the incorporation of its statement of professional values in the standards for QTS. These have recently been sent to all teachers as has the Code of Conduct which informs the work of regulatory panels.

School leaders should be proactive in reporting teachers to the GTC in matters of serious incompetence and misconduct in order to protect the good name of the profession and to support the fine work done in all our schools by conscientious teachers.

If you have issues you wish to raise regarding the GTC, contact either myself or Tony Neal (former SHA president and chair of the GTC policy and resources committee) on tonyneal@deaston.globalnet.co.uk

We are in particular interested in views on your local academy where teachers are not required to be registered with the GTC and where governors may appoint whom they like.

Ralph Ullmann, GTC council and SHA member, London Bridge School, London faruli_uk@hotmail.com

No point

Following the SIMS/PLASC debacle, I wasn't surprised to hear the recent announcement that the Key Stage 3 English results will not be published until 24 August 2005.

This will obviously mean that KS3 English results will not be published to parents when their children have already begun studying their GCSE courses. The English departments across the land will not be able to use the SAT raw scores to set students for Year 10 courses.

This makes an already somewhat pointless exam even more pointless.

Kevin Osborne
Assistant Head, The Arthur Terry School, Sutton Coldfield

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