Friday, 23 March 2018

A Penny For Your Thoughts

On 25th January this year, the government published the annual League Tables for schools in England in the academic year 2016-17. Alongside this, information pertaining to Finance and Population (both student and staff) were also published. We at The Trash have often reported on the school's fixation with League Tables, and the school's management - or lack thereof - of its finances. Given the recent report on secondary schools running a budget deficit, we are going to delve into the financial data that has been published.

Data published today shows that the school had a total income of £7,906 per pupil (£9,906,218 in total) in 2016-17, £7,761 of which is from grants. Grant funding, the government website says, "Includes funds delegated by the [Local Authority],  funding for 6th form students, SEN funding, funding for minority ethnic pupils, Pupil Premium, other government grants, other grants and payments, pupil focused extended school funding and/or grants and Additional grant for schools". The other £145 comes from self-generated income which "Includes income from facilities and services, receipts from other insurance claims, income from contributions to visits etc, donations and/or private funds". Hampstead's income matches that of Camden Council's (the Local Authority) median income per pupil for schools. In addition, it is £2,002 more than that of the median income per pupil across the whole of England, although this is to be expected of an inner London school. Despite this, the school's income falls £188 short per pupil in comparison to the London median. Unfortunately, the website does not give a breakdown of how much income has come from each of the numerous sources cited under the headings of 'Grant Funding and Self-generated Income', so it is difficult to place where the funding shortfall in comparison to the London average lies. 

Spending is split into 12 sections, from Teaching Staff to Back Office Costs and Catering. Naturally, Teaching Staff receive the largest portion of school spending at £4,237 per pupil. £313 per pupil is spent on non-ICT resources, £10 less than the Local Authority average. This encompasses textbooks, exercise books, stationery and school trips amongst other things.  Back in December 2016, a new funding formula was introduced by the government. It was warned that - coupled with rising inflation rates - schools such as Hampstead would face budget cuts and thus a loss of teaching resources. This is clearly evident. Firstly, the government data shows us that the overall spending per pupil in the school fell by £121 per pupil between 2015-16 and 2016-17. Secondly, it is easy to see the signs within the school on a practical basis. Departments do not have sufficient resources. There are not enough textbooks in certain subjects to supply one to each Year 11 student, in arguably one of the most important years in a secondary school student's career. In addition, a lack of other resources, be it rulers, glues, or post-it notes, is constantly apparent. 

This resource shortfall has two sources. Firstly, the government's funding is severely inadequate. Schools are in need of extra money in order to purchase more equipment; they cannot maintain a learning environment on what they already have. It is all well and good to give schools £7,906 per pupil, however, when this fails to increase in accordance with the rate of inflation, which has rapidly increased since the Brexit vote, there is a net funding shortfall.

One highlight from the data appears to show that Hampstead is running a budget deficit. Whilst the data does not explicitly state the net income of the school, it does not take a rocket scientist to spot this. Spending per pupil is at £8,083 (£10,127,999 in total) for last year. This leaves a deficit of £987 per pupil. This, when multiplied by the student population, gives a deficit of £1,236,711 in the school budget. The choices of the school in relation to its spending have often come under fire from The Trash, particularly in reference to spending on advertisements and bins. Always the bins. In these belt-tightening times, there are clear quantitative signs the school needs to save money, and it should not be to the detriment of a student's education. Taking the ego of the Head into account, the future has some tough decisions in store for the senior management.

All data concerning Finance and Workforce, Absence and Pupil Population, and League Table Results can be found here:

No comments:

Post a Comment