Funding crisis 'a threat to A-levels'

Schools are threatening legal action against the Government over spending cuts that could rob up to 50,000 teenagers of their sixth-form places in September.

Headteachers are warning they will have to drop A-level subjects such as French and German and further maths if they do not get the cash reinstated.

Rob Bevan, head of the 1,000-pupil Southend High School for Boys in Essex, accused the Government of "incompetence" and bordering between being "disingenuous and dishonest" over the preparation of sixth-form budgets.

He faces the loss of £80,000 (6 per cent) from his sixth-form budget – effectively meaning at least 10 pupils will not be funded from this September.

A similar picture emerges in other secondary schools, sixth-forms and further education colleges throughout the country – with the worst affected facing losses of more than £160,000 (the equivalent of 40 pupils' places). Overall, the budget cut has been estimated at around £200m.

Mr Bevan, whose school is one of the 164 remaining state grammar schools in the UK, said: "We wouldn't change our offer of places for September because we're committed to the students who have signed up for education.

"But in the long run, if this money is not found we'd have to look at subjects taken by a minority of students. These could be French, German, further maths, design and technology and music technology."

Mr Bevan, an executive member of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said schools were considering seeking a judicial review of the decision by the Learning and Skills Council, the body responsible for funding post-16 education. It would be a "class action", with as many schools as possible signing up.

Heads base their case on the fact that they received letters at the beginning of March from the LSC detailing what was then described as their "final budget notification". On 31 March, a day before the new budget came into forced, they received a new email outlining the cuts.

The LSC argued that it had understimated the number of youngsters planning to stay on in education as a result of the recession.

"It was bizarre," said Mr Bevan. "They actually mentioned the cut (in pupil funding) in a footnote on the 13th page (of the email attachment). I would go so far as to say it is dishonest – bordering between disingenuous and dishonest."

Michael Gove, the Tories' schools spokesman, said: "Anyone would say it was catatrophic incompetence to say something was final when it was provisional." He said Schools Secretary Ed Balls could not escape blame, because his department had an observer on the LSC.

Teachers' leaders have pointed out the shortfall in funding threatens at least three government objectives: raising the education leaving age to 18; increasing the number of youngsters opting for higher education to fifty per cent; and persuading more 14 to 19-year-olds to study its flagship new diplomas.

When he addressed the conference on Monday, Mr Balls said: "The numbers of young people wanting to stay on in school are considerably higher than last year." He hinted that extra money would arrive as a result of the Budget next week. "Give us until the end of April to try and sort out the funding," he said.

Earlier this year the LSC's chief executive Mark Haysom resigned after it emerged nearly 80 colleges would not have enough money to carry out promised building works.

Sport
world cup 2014
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

Long Term Primary Teacher - Oldham - Start September 2014

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Key Stage 1 Teache...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £140 per day + ?DOE: Randstad Education Maidstone: SEN Teacher Kent

Year 5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil