It’s just not something we are used to! Woodcote has always been up there in the top echelons of Croydon Schools.
GCSE performance, achievement in the English Baccalaureate, levels of progress in English and Maths, sporting achievement and in other areas, we have always done well and are often head and shoulders above others.
However, earlier this year the Educational Funding Agency released a league table which was very bitter-sweet to everyone at Woodcote High School. The school’s efficiency metric showed us to be both at the top and at the bottom of a table respectively.
“How can this be?” I hear you say!
Well, in terms of Croydon Schools, Woodcote provides the best value for money because the outstanding results we deliver cost the tax payer far less per qualification than almost every school in Croydon. In other words, we do more for less! Looking at the table another way though reveals a very different picture.
The amount of funding that each school in Croydon get various radically. Woodcote is in the bottom two schools for funding it receives. The Croydon funding formula means that the highest funded school gets almost double the funding of the lowest.
It is fair that schools with more disadvantaged students or more with English as a second language, should receive more, but the table highlights some of the real funding issues amongst secondary schools in Croydon.
Being at the bottom of the funding table means that we are unable to do some of the fabulous things that we have done in the past, without a little support.
Traditionally we have offered an enormous amount of support to our year 11 and 13 students in the run up to their examinations in terms of after school and holiday revision, as well as study-skills workshops and even some residential revision courses.
There is no way we would want to cut back on all of this support, so this year we are asking parents for voluntary contributions towards the cost of holiday revision and study skills workshops. Of course, we don’t like having to do this and we would never turn students away from revision sessions, but we feel that most of our supportive parents would be happy to contribute to these activities, which are so worthwhile in preparing our young people for external examinations. Of course, it goes without saying that if individual circumstances make it difficult to contribute we will ensure that this is no barrier to students attending the activities.