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Top grammar school faces financial crisis

Another week, another story about the impact of a lack of school funding. Following on from last week’s blog discussing the potential four-day week due to shortfalls in funding for schools in West Sussex, another school has since announced it is struggling to stay open due to a lack of funding.

One of the most popular grammar schools in the country, Latymer, in North London, recently hit the headlines by asking parents to donate money in order to help it stay open and run effectively. These donations, it claimed, were to help with its significant financial shortfall due to cuts affecting the school. And according to the head teacher, Maureen Cobbett, it is a matter of ‘urgency’.

Issues at the school have been rising in recent years, but have seemingly come to a head this term. Parents of children at the selective school have been warned that continued financial pressures may result in staff cuts with would filter down and cause larger class sizes and fewer subject options for pupils to study at both GCSE and A Level.

In order to try and combat this, the school has asked parents for donations of between £30 and £50 per month. The school says this averages out at between £1.89 and £3.15 per school day for the period a child attends, and is “considerably less than the average fees of an independent school”.

All of this comes, however, not long after Theresa May announced plans to revive grammar schools in the UK, but this financial crisis of one of the country’s most successful schools seemingly mirrors the shape of the public sector. And despite the MP wanting to push forward grammar schools and expand them, it seems like Latymer is actually looking to economise as opposed to expand.

The school has a long history of providing stellar education to its pupils. Founded by a city merchant in 1624 the school is one of the most sought-after in the country due to its excellent exam results and ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted. The school has also appealed to alumni for financial support and help the school guide young students.

Despite this announcement coming as a surprise to many, Latymer has actually been asking parents for voluntary donations for 20 years, and in the past has used these donations to fund new sports facilities and school refurbishment. However now the donations are more a necessity to ensure it can continue to offer the standard of education it has for almost 400 years, and not as a way to enhance learning.

Are you concerned about the future of schools for your child?

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