This week: Save Our Sixth Formers campaign.
Save Our Sixth Formers campaign
One of our governors, Jane Hindle, has written to Sir Keir Starmer in support of the Save Our Sixth Formers campaign. Here is her letter:
‘Dear Sir Keir,
Support our Sixth-formers campaign
As our local MP, I am writing to seek your support ahead of November’s Budget. At Camden School for Girls we currently educate over 1,000 young people, including some 420 in the sixth form, and passionately believe that every student deserves a first class education.
As you probably know, students at Camden School for Girls do extremely well on a variety of different measures, and their A level results have for many years significantly outperformed national averages. This year (2017), 18% of all grades were A* only (8% national), 49% were A* and A (26% national), and 79% A*-B (53% national). Some 74% of students have won places at Russell Group universities (12 to Oxbridge) and prestigious art and medical schools. These achievements depend on a range of factors, of course, but they are fundamentally reliant on exceptional teaching and a supportive environment in which students can thrive and become responsible citizens as well as perform to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, funding cuts and cost increases are making these conditions increasingly difficult to provide.
Given the funding challenges we face, I hope that you can join us in backing the Support Our Sixth-formers campaign (www.sixthformcolleges.org/sos-campaign). The immediate aim of the campaign is to secure an increase in funding of £200 per sixth-form student in the forthcoming Budget. It is estimated that this would cost £244 million per year to implement - and could be partly funded by using theunderspend in the Department for Education’s budget for sixth-form education (that amounted to £135 million in 2014/15 and £132 million in 2015/16).
At a time when sixth-form education is in dire need of additional investment, we believe that schools and colleges should at least receive all the funding that the government has set aside to educate sixth-form students. Camden School for Girls would have had to access to an additional £95,172 if the underspends in 2014/15 and 2015/16 had not been directed elsewhere. This funding would have been used to maintain several subjects that have had to be dropped from the sixth form curriculum as well as its highly regarded Extended Project Qualification, that enabled students to develop a broad range of skills and knowledge, often in voluntary and community settings.
The national associations behind the Support Our Sixth-formers campaign have written the joint letter enclosed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging him to support an increase in funding of £200 per sixth-form student. I hope that you can write a similar letter to the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Education ahead of the Budget. You can also tweet support for the campaign by using the hashtag #SupportOurSixthFormers.
It is vital that schools and colleges like ours can access this additional investment in time for the beginning of the 2018/19 academic year. This will help to ensure that our students receive the sort of high quality, rounded educational experience they need to become healthy, happy, resilient and productive citizens.
Thank you for your continued support.
Foundation Governor, Camden School for Girls
on behalf of the Camden School for Girls governing body’
Ms Hindle received this reply from Sir Starmer’s office:
‘Thank you for your letter. Camden School for Girls sixth formers' level of achievement in the face of unacceptable hardship does great credit to them, their teachers and to the wider school community.
At the beginning of the month Keir spoke at a School Cuts public meeting, alongside Councillor Angela Mason (Cabinet Member for Best Start in Life), Jo Yurkey (Fair Funding for all Schools), Kiri Tunks (VP NEU) and John Hayes (Headteacher, Gospel Oak Primary School), and followed up with an open letter to the Ham & High. He wrote last week in the CNJ alongside Georgia Gould (Leader of the Council) calling on the Government to invest urgently needed funds, and I understand that schools will feature again in the CNJ this week.
Keir is very happy to back the #SupportOurSixthFormers campaign, I will do my best to have him Tweet in your support, but as a member of the Shadow Cabinet, it is more appropriate for him to raise your concerns with Angela Rayner than write to the Philip Hammond and Justine Greening directly. I’ll make sure to communicate your letter to Angela Rayner’s office immediately.
I do hope that this goes some way to reassuring you of Keir's commitment to supporting schools in Holborn and St Pancras to the best of his ability.’
To find out more about the campaign, please follow this link:
www.sixthformcolleges.org and click on ‘SOS Campaign’.