Funding pledge joy at Whitcliffe

john mcgee
john mcgee

A SPEN high school is all set to see an end to its days of ‘bog standard funding’.

Staff and pupils at Whitcliffe Mount Business and Enterprise College are celebrating emerging as winners in a massive education funding shake-up.

Headteacher John McGee says a long-term boost of £500,000-plus will enable the college to deliver a more flexible curriculum.

“In the past we have been the classic bog-standard school, receiving just basic money,” he said. “We had no cash for things we should have been able to do, such as learning support and mentoring.”

The good news for Whitcliffe comes with government plans to change the way schools are financed. There will be winners and losers in Kirklees.

Batley Business and Enterprise College is one of the secondaries set to lose more than £500,00 in the long term. The college could see a fall of £504,276 in the years ahead.

But Whitcliffe Mount is in line for a £506,419 long term boost.

The data is in a Kirklees Schools Forum report studied by members of Kirklees Council cabinet on Tuesday and discussed by a full council meeting on Wednesday.

The forum says the proposed changes will have a ‘turbulent’ effect. From April, councils must simplify funding and distribution arrangements. The shake-up is so complex the forum is on its third draft of proposals.

Mr McGee said: “This will make a massive difference to us. It will enable us to provide extra support for students.

“In the past, there were 40 different factors for funding. This is now down to 11 and most of the money will come through pupil-related aspects.

“Whereas some schools – due to deprivation or language issues – have been able to do different projects, we have been the classic bog standard school just receiving basic money. We had no cash for things we should have been able to do, such as learning support and mentoring.

“Now we can have a more flexible curriculum to better meet students’ needs. It can be more tailored.

“The more money, the more flexible we can be. We have always had to be careful with our spending but the purse strings will be loosened.

“This is very exciting. It will enhance the learning experience for all students and target resources at specific needs.

“It’s going to be challenging but very exciting. But the real excitement is for the children of Cleckheaton, Gomersal and Birkenshaw as we will have more to spend on their education.

“There is an element of ‘about time too!’ in this!”