Head’s funding fears

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THE Headteacher of Ponteland High School has voiced his fears for the future of education in the county as it prepares to deal with funding cuts.

Stephen Prandle and three of his counterparts in the west area of Northumberland say it will be harder to maintain a quality curriculum that meets all students’ needs, particularly at Sixth Form level, over the coming years. One of the Government’s education reforms is to reduce school sixth form funding to the level received by colleges by 2015.

Mr Prandle said: “We have avoided redundancies this year and last due to careful management of our staffing needs. Our staff have responded maturely and constructively to the challenges imposed on us by budget issues which are beyond our control and are determined to continue the reputation for excellence which our school and students enjoy.

“However, I do have worries about the long-term future of Northumberland’s high schools. In 13-18 schools, which the vast majority of Northumberland schools are, about 40 per cent of our income is attached to our sixth forms.

“The Government has already said it plans to reduce funding for post-16 students so high schools like ours will face even more challenging times over the next three years.”