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How is it some state schools can offer so much more than others?

(58 Posts)
Ffffffftttttttt Tue 19-Apr-16 14:35:37

Was just reading a thread where posters were comparing facilities at Westminster (private selective) with Tiffin (state selective) and some saying why pay. Made me go on Tiffin website to look at what they offer. I know it is a grammar and I live in an all comp borough but was shocked at the gulf in what is on offer. The drama and music on offer is incomparable, with proper productions and facilities at Tiffin, crumbling facilities and hardly anything beyond the basic curriculum at my local comp. And yet the comp by nature of its non selective intake will be receiving a high pupil premium. So presume comp income higher, or perhaps there are differences between what monies local authorities put into schools?

So where are schools like Tiffin getting their money from? Or are some schools just utilising it better than others? Please explain to me as I'm baffled.

redskytonight Tue 19-Apr-16 14:43:08

They will do fund raising from alumni.
School PTA (or similar) will also raise money from parents of current pupils (maybe even as blatantly as asking for regular donations).
A school like Tiffin is likely to have wealthier alumni/pupil parents than Joe Bloggs comp.

I would imagine a lot of pupil premium money gets spent on extra staff / support for their pupils rather than facilities.

TheRollingCrone Tue 19-Apr-16 14:43:30

Some grammar schools are attached to a foundation ( like the King Edwards in Birmingham) and are really wealthy. I,m not sure how or if it funds the state schools though.
I do know a lot of wealthy people send their kids to Birmingham grammars and are very active and generous fundraisers.
I suppose they might have generous alumni?

notagiraffe Tue 19-Apr-16 14:46:35

Don't know if they still do, but they used to 'fund raise' about £500-1k per year from each parent for each pupil and it was very much expected that parents would cough up. Most parents are able and willing to as they see Tiffin saving them £15k or more in private school fees per year. That's £500k per year extra income at least that most comps won't have.

Ffffffftttttttt Tue 19-Apr-16 14:46:57

Ah, that's interesting, I didn't think about alumni.

notagiraffe Tue 19-Apr-16 14:48:26

It's also why some leafy comps have better facilities. Our state primary was in an affluent area and the PTA raised about £30-50k every year really easily which got spent on instruments and sports and playground equipment.

Ffffffftttttttt Tue 19-Apr-16 14:48:36

Wow, that's incredible. I had no idea parents were approached to part fund to that extent.

notagiraffe Tue 19-Apr-16 14:52:01

I heard this from a couple of parents who had DSs at the school.

tiggytape Tue 19-Apr-16 16:21:25

From their fundraising page:
"The current suggested contribution is £520 per year, per child. This amounts to £10 per week and we believe that there is no better way to help your son’s education than this. Many families support at a higher level than this already and others are contributing what they can. It is all appreciated equally and the benefits are immense."

So if even half the families there pay £520 in voluntary contributions, that's a lot of money generated from that source alone.

minifingerz Tue 19-Apr-16 16:23:28

I don't know. My dc's non-selective London comp seems to be well resourced enough to keep class sizes at around 20 - 23. He's only got 6 kids in his Latin class (year 7).

Ffffffftttttttt Tue 19-Apr-16 16:27:44

Gosh. I wonder how many don't stump up. I'm surprised that sort of pressure is allowed. Pretty brazen to put it on a state school website.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 19-Apr-16 16:33:44

It's a really interesting question which I've never thought about. Am gobsmacked by the level of contribution requested by Tiffin. But I do see that my children's comp had around £10,000 from the PTA last year. That's clearly not going to happen everywhere. They also have very strong links with local businesses and the nearest university and a lot of extra curricular events are sponsored. Someone is clearly very good at twisting people's arms. It's an aspect of social inequality that isn't really talked about (having said which, this is the least posh school in a very wealthy area, so I dare say the others are also doing reasonably well)

CluelessClaudia Tue 19-Apr-16 17:02:17

Deprivation/affluence affects schools in so many ways. It is not just fundraising. Schools with a deprived intake have to spend so much more on bought-in services for behaviour support, exclusions, Educational Psychologists - the list is endless. The extra pupil premium money they get is supposed to be spent in helping to close the achievement gap, so it should not really be spent on these ancilliary services. And social issues linked to deprivation tend to take up a huge amount of management time too - headteachers on the phone to social services, child protection departments and so on. Plus dealing with parently complaints about behaviour, bullying etc. Staff turnover tends to be higher in these schools. So it is no surprise that schools find it harder to get an Ofsted 'Good' rating when everything is stacked against them. Many do manage it of course. But mainly it's a big vicious circle.

Grammar schools, on the whole, have high-achieving, motivated children and parents, and low deprivation. They have a massive head start.

NotCitrus Tue 19-Apr-16 17:20:51

Sometimes it's down to a few dedicated staff putting on extra activities like plays in their spare time. A school in a city or attractive area can attract more energetic staff and be more likely to keep them longer. Also a larger school can get economies of scale for staff and upkeep and save a bit of money compared to Joe Bloggs rural comp in the middle of nowhere. And again it's a vicious circle of staff being less likely to want to work in a 'boring' school.

Fundraising in a wealthy area with some wealthy parents is much easier - parents know people who can provide really cool raffle prizes, and parents and their friends buy lots of tickets and are happy to support fundraising dinners and quizzes etc. Local primaries here vary from ones that struggle to make £5k a year for the PTA, to ones a mile away (same size) that generate £50-100k easily. Guess which ones will get new sports sheds, playground kit, etc?

golfball Tue 19-Apr-16 19:39:18

Tiffin might have had even better facilities etc if it wasn't for a certain cash-mishandling scandal.

It wasn't publicly linked to the departing headmaster, but interestingly he messed up at his next school too.

holidaysarenice Tue 19-Apr-16 19:43:45

Our old school had a 'voluntary' contribution - except you got a red letter bill at the end of the year if you hadn't paid it!

It was used for extracurricular activities etc - so we paid it as we used lots of clubs/equipment etc

bojorojo Tue 19-Apr-16 20:47:06

The Pupil Premium at Tiffin Boys is circa £49k this year and was circa £44k last year. When I was working in education, 20 years ago, one of our grammar schools regularly raised in excess of £100k pa from parents. There are many parents who would have paid for an independent school if they had to. £1k here and there is not a huge deal to them. Alumni also contribute. I do think it is reasonable to be open if you levy a parental contribution. I notice they spend PP money on funding trips for their PP children so they may also use the parental levy money for funding aspects of school life for less well off boys. I would be interested to know if any of their pupils needs to "close the gap" but they do have free school meals pupils. Presumably they are very bright though, or they would not be there.

I live in a grammar school county. There were always stark differences between the provision in the secondary modern schools and the grammar schools. The run down buildings belonged to the secondary moderns. The grammar heads were a powerful lobby group. Councillors love the grammar schools. Local and big business loves the grammar schools. In years gone by, they were favoured, especially regarding buildings. The local boys grammar has squash courts.

In my county there has been a move to redress the imbalance and close the gap. The grammars have squealed as they have no gap to close and are less well funded than they were. This will not make up for years of imbalance. For years the type of child that needs pp funding was never recognised as being special. The secondary schools really struggled to meet their needs. It was expensive and no extra funding was earmarked for such things as attendance officers, mentoring, time-out rooms, pastoral care, home/school liaison - the list is endless. All the things mentioned in earlier posts too!

Washediris Tue 19-Apr-16 22:19:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stillunexpected Tue 19-Apr-16 22:49:05

If schools are getting higher amounts of pupil premium it is because they need it and it will be spent on the pupils for whom it is received! So it is needed to provide additional academic support, booster groups, friendship clubs, access to extra-curricular activities etc. It is not extra cash which can be used to fund the school production or build a studio theatre.

bojorojo Tue 19-Apr-16 23:25:08

The schools that get Pp do need it. I agree. It can be spent in quite a variety of ways though and the Sutton Trust has good evidence on what works. These children often have barriers to learning and may need mentoring and counselling. The money is not just spent on tuition if low self esteem, chaotic home life, poor attendance and lack of opportunities to go on school trips (for example) is a cause for lack of progress. Lots of things can help raise achievement. It has made quite a big difference to the funding of schools in more deprived areas. I was rather surprised Tiffin got as much as it did!

notagiraffe Wed 20-Apr-16 07:57:47

golfball- I can't believe he walked into another job after that scandal!

mummytime Wed 20-Apr-16 08:01:57

My DCs leafy comp has a sports facility that is highly comparable to very sporty Private schools - it has this because it did a deal with a big name sports club. They use it out of hours for training and funded a lot/most of its build. The school gave the land and uses it in the school day.

We don't have Grammar's here - which helps with fund raising.

tictactoad Wed 20-Apr-16 08:25:51

Years back the desirable grammar in the next borough was asking parents for a voluntary contribution of £50 a month. No idea what it is now but multiply at least that by the number of pupils and you get a very tidy sum.

TeddTess Wed 20-Apr-16 13:28:56

the parental contribution at Tiffin is not voluntary
well they make it pretty hard to not pay it from what i hear. it is hefty.

TeddTess Wed 20-Apr-16 13:29:50

and it's in a wealthy area
our local state primary PTA regularly raise £35k pa

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