Messages to Members

Funding for grammar schools in Southend

Since the message at the weekend regarding the School's Funding issues, there have been developments that have prompted a request for additional support to the School from Head Teacher, Dr Robin Bevan as follows:

We have received a request from Sir David Amess MP for a petition of signatures regarding funding. He is intending to present the petition to the House of Commons with the following wording:

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of grammar school pupils and their families in Southend,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned that the four outstanding grammar schools in Southend (Southend High School for Girls, Southend High School for Boys, Westcliff High School for Girls, and Westcliff High School for Boys) are facing an urgent funding crisis, as their two and three year budget forecasts show that they cannot cover the costs of all of their lessons; further that the Petitioners believe that many successful schools across the country, including the four grammar schools in Southend, have long accepted a lower rate of funding while other secondary schools in the same area receive 50% more per pupil per year; further that the Petitioners are concerned that the local Schools’ Funding Forum cannot close this gap and that successful schools such as the grammar schools in Southend are facing the worst cuts; further that the Petitioners recognise the fact that their schools have reduced staffing to the minimum, have stopped replacing equipment, while at the same time increasing class sizes and reducing the number of subjects taught; and lastly that the Petitioners believe that there is nothing left to cut.

The Petitioners therefore urge the House of Commons to request that the Department for Education addresses the funding discrepancy between grammar schools and other secondary schools to ensure that the funding system does not discriminate against some of the best performing schools in the country and some of the most ambitious pupils who wish to take up extra subjects.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

You are asked to please: 

  1. Download / Print out the petition form click here and complete it with your own name and details
  2. Obtain as many other signatures as possible from supporters of the School
  3. Return the signed copy to the School, Main Office, no later than Monday, 2 March.
For those of you wishing to post your support, please return the Form addressed to:
Main Office, Southend High School for Boys, Prittlewell Chase, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS0 0RG

For those of you Overseas, who wish to offer your support, please scan and attach your Form and send it to: enquiries@shsb.org.uk

Ask not what your school did for you, but ...

At the request of Dr Robin Bevan, HeadTeacher, SHSB this message is sent to invite each of you to communicate by e-mail with your local MP and the Secretary of State for Education regarding the School's allocation from the National Schools' Budget as part of the "nothing left for us to learn" Campaign. For more background, please Robin's 2014 OSA Magazine report, page 27 and the following document click here .

The Executive Committee of the Old Southendian Association urges each of you to act in support of the School.

The suggested wording for your e-mails is as follows:
.............................................................................

It is with genuine concern that I write to you regarding the funding allocated to my previous school – Southend High School for Boys – and to the wider network of grammar schools within our county.

This has been prompted by communications from the Headteacher, which outlined that the school has reached a critical and alarming point in its financial viability. In essence, they have reached the stage where there is insufficient money available within its budget to conduct their core teaching activities; this is despite cutbacks in staffing levels and staff training across recent years, reductions of over 1000 lessons in their annual timetable and an 11% reduction in teaching time per A level course studied.

It is widely known that the funding that these excellent schools receive falls some way short of the state school average, but I was astounded to find that SHSB’s £4,600 per pupil funding (one of the very lowest in their Borough) was one third less than many other local secondary schools. This is of course not unique to this school, who has linked with 3 other Southend grammars in a joint awareness and fundraising campaign, poignantly entitled “Nothing left for us to learn”.

It has been a growing concern for parents that the teacher’s core contact time with pupils has reduced, but until today I was unaware of the magnitude of the problem that exists across a spread of Southend grammar schools. I am compelled to bring this to your notice, since the inequity that they face is simply too great to be ignored.

Southend High School for Boys is an exceptional school. It has recently undergone an Ofsted Inspection which rated it as ‘Outstanding’ in every single category of inspection; this alone places it amongst the very highest performing schools nationally, and this is mirrored each year in the academic success of their pupils and the national-level output of their highest sporting achievers. That such success has been achieved at all is something to celebrate – that it has been achieved with such poor funding is little short of miraculous. However, I have genuine fears that this cannot be sustained without realistic financial support, and that current and future pupils will inevitably suffer.

I understand that local authorities will quite reasonably allocate funds according to the greatest perceived need in their region (generally to the poorest performing schools). In such a climate, it is tremendously difficult for a top-performing school to argue their case for increased funding, but this does not provide an excuse for them to be overlooked or under-resourced. I’m simply outlining that an urgent funding need exists at Southend High School for Boys - and there can surely be no greater sign of need than when a school is forced to cut back on its core teaching activities, to the detriment of its pupils.

For these reasons I am urging you to consult with the many MPs who are experiencing similar issues in their constituencies – with a view towards expanding funding for the high achieving state schools which are so adversely affected.

I believe the achievements of all the grammar schools are something of which we should be justifiably proud, but this excellence simply cannot be maintained with inadequate funding. Naturally, it causes significant concern within the wider community of former students to see provision at Southend High School for Boys under such threat. Please may I request your direct assistance in helping to ensure that their successes do not become a thing of the past, but remain the strongest of foundation stones for the achievers of the future?

...........................................................

The above can be easily copied and pasted into your own e-mails, signed off and then one forwarded to your MP as follows:
If Sir David Amess MP (Southend West) (who continues to be hugely supportive of the School), he can be contacted at amessd@parliament.uk.
If another, the UK Parliament website at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ lists all the MPs and should supply a contact e-mail address.

The second to be sent to:
The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP. She can be written to at ministers@education.gsi.gov.uk [PLEASE NOTE - this is a different e-mail address to the one in the explanatory document].
If you are currently living overseas, please communicate with Sir David Amess as the School's local MP.

OLD SOUTHENDIAN LOCAL BUSINESS NETWORKING GROUP

Clive Rowe (Troy, 1972-79) has presented a plan to the Association’s Executive Committee proposing the establishment of a ‘local business networking’ group exclusively for members of the Association.
Initially the plan involves Association members in business in the Southend area meeting one evening a month to network for business purposes.
The plan will also see the Group taking an active role in extending the growing Old Southendian connections with the School by linking business and education to develop both with such activities as:
  • work experience for students at the School
  • guiding the School on what businesses need by way of potential employees
  • sponsorships for activities which best support the values of businesses, whether they are sports based or science, technology or communications etc.

As well as creating business relationships and referrals within the group, it is hoped that the next stage will see possibilities developed for business referrals to a wider Old Southendian and School community audience.
At present nothing exists in this space and the plan is exciting not just for the opportunity, but for the direction and focus that can be applied.
The Executive is supportive of Clive Rowe’s proposal and this email is to ask our members if they would support this initiative in order to gauge numbers who may like to be involved and attend a meeting to discuss the workings of such a group.
Clive has gathered together a group like minded Old Boys to provide the organisational and administrative support, and the date of an inaugural meeting and the use of a suitable venue will be arranged once we have an idea of numbers.
Please email Clive on rowey1@live.co.uk 

Yours sincerely
Clive Shiret
Chairman

SHSB Cock House Championship Autumn Term 2014 Report to the OSA

The School has provided a Report to the OSA for the Autumn Term 2014 giving an update on the Cock House Championship.

The Report can be accessed through the following link to the OSA website: http://www.oldsouthendianassociation.org/index.php?page=cockhousereports

It is planned that future Reports will be added to the webpage when received from the School.