Friday 6th February 2015
Yesterday, I listened to the Prime Minister’s announcement about Conservative plans for education spending with mixed feelings. One might feel reassured to hear that he is guaranteeing this current level of income for schools in the next Parliament against the backdrop of further cuts to other public services. On the other hand, this is actually what is described as ‘flat money’ ie there will be no uplift in school income to offset rising costs because of inflation, pay awards and changes in pension contributions and national insurance. Already this approach is leading us to make pretty deep cuts in spending and we face a reality of having between 7 and 10% less cash in future years. I wrote to The Times with other school leaders to make these points last week and the story was picked up by BBC Radio Bristol.
What this means for Gordano is that we are going to have to rationalise our provision so that we can be more cost effective. The obvious implications for our students will be that we may have to narrow the choices of option subjects somewhat to increase average class sizes. We are very lucky to be a large school as we have significantly greater opportunity to do this than smaller organisations. As I have said, this is a mixed picture and I do recognise that the whole public sector needs to achieve economies. I shall be doing my utmost, whoever wins the election, to deliver our very best here at Gordano with the resources available.
On a more cheerful matter, the school production is currently mid-way through its run. I will be going on Wednesday night and I’m very much looking forward to an energetic and upbeat evening. I hope that the experience of being in a big production of this scale is a transformational moment in self-confidence and ambition for the young people in the cast.
Our U13 boys have had a terrific run in the National Cup but very sadly were knocked out by Royal Wootton Bassett Academy in Round 7. They faced the agony of giving away their lead and then conceding the winning goal in extra time: another character building experience!
I spoke with Mark Hill this morning. Mark is the owner of The Sports Shop on the High Street and stockist of our uniform. He has all uniform lines currently available. If your child is in Years 8 to 10 and has not yet switched over to the new uniform, you may wish to think about making that transition soon. Our feedback on both the design of the new uniform and the pride with which our students are wearing it continues to be excellent and I really appreciate parental support in achieving that.
Lastly, league tables appeared last week. I have written to the local press to advise them that the new first entry rule understates our school performance by about 7%. You will see that I have published the actual GCSE results performance once again on our website.