FUNDING OF STAFFING AND POST-16 PROVISION
As you may have heard in the media, all schools are currently having to make difficult decisions regarding their budgets. The income that we receive from the government for each student has reduced in recent years, especially for Sixth Form students. At the same time, our costs are rising significantly, for example increased national insurance contributions, local government pension costs, the apprentice levy, and an additional charge for all schools in South Gloucestershire to repay a deficit in the council’s education budget. We had hoped that “national fairer funding” when introduced would relieve the mounting financial pressures, but the indicated increase for Marlwood School is insignificant, despite us being located in one of the worst-funded authorities in the country under the current arrangements.
The financial position of Castle School Education Trust is currently secure, but we are having to take difficult decisions in order to maintain that position. Yesterday we initiated a consultation on staffing reductions, affecting some leadership and support staff posts at The Castle School and Marlwood School. This will be a challenging time for those colleagues who are directly affected, as well as for teachers who work alongside them.
You may be aware that Castle and Marlwood have shared some Sixth Form courses in recent years, with some students travelling between sites in order to access courses. We have decided that from September 2017, all courses for the new Year 12 from both Castle and Marlwood schools will be co-located at our Gloucester Road site, which will enable us to continue providing very high quality sixth form teaching whilst reducing costs by not duplicating courses across two sites. Year 13 in September 2017 will continue to operate the same as they have in Year 12, eg using both Marlwood and Castle facilities.