At Aylesbury Grammar School we are proud of our history and tradition of excellence whilst very much looking to the future. Our vision is to ensure that our students are ready to face the demands of the 21st century and are able to be successful in their chosen fields. We want to build a School with facilities to support exceptional learning and exceptional students.
We know that financially there are significant challenges ahead. We have been situated on our site for over a century and we have some rapidly deteriorating learning and teaching places with many that are no longer fit for purpose or appropriate for learning in the modern world.
In February 2015, the Headteachers from our four local grammar schools wrote to all parents with regard to the prevailing national education funding issues and those in Buckinghamshire specifically. Since this time The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools and Aylesbury Grammar School have been lobbying to improve these scenarios for Buckinghamshire schools.
At the Information Evenings this academic year the Headmaster presented the current financial situation, the School’s vision and the key development priorities for the coming year. These demonstrate our commitment to providing an exceptional education for our students.
Aylesbury Grammar School was founded on the bequest of Sir Henry Lee in 1598 and it exists today largely thanks to the foresight and generosity of its community. In the light of our funding position, it is important that this year, more than ever, we work hard to enable parents, alumni and the local community to support us, so that we can continue to deliver an exceptional education for our students.
Without question, our funding challenge is significant, and we are campaigning hard for urgent revisions to the funding formulae. On a positive note there is a commitment from the government to phase in a new national funding formula for schools but this will not happen until the academic year 2019/20. At this point, there are also provisos around this new formula which will continue to be detrimental for schools like ours.
This year, Aylesbury Grammar School is the fifteenth lowest funded school in the country.
For the foreseeable future our financial situation will continue to be challenging and it means funds to invest in initiatives beyond the curriculum and in capital expenditure are non-existent. As an academy, our annual operating costs are funded through central government each year, and in recent years and in real terms, our annual allocation per student has been decreasing. For example, in 2016/17, we will receive £5.7 million in funding which amounts to an average of £4,300 per student and is only just sufficient to meet our annual basic operating costs. According to the Grammar School Head’s Association, a minimum of £4,500 per student is required. A further significant funding problem is the recent reduction in Sixth Form funding (£4,000 per student), which has had a considerable impact on us, especially as we have such a large Sixth Form.
Additionally, education in Buckinghamshire is poorly funded by central government – the amount of money per student is the in the bottom fifteen of all local authorities in Britain. Seven Buckinghamshire schools are in the bottom 20 funded schools in England and Buckinghamshire has 11 schools in the bottom 30. All of these schools are grammar schools.
Nevertheless, the school doesn’t rest on its laurels and accept the status–quo and so it has been fundraising tirelessly for the last 6 years to refurbish a particularly run down part of the school – its vintage Science facilities. The school has raised £2.3 million in the last 7 years to fund a complete refurbishment which is now benefiting our students daily.
Another major development was the relocation of the Library from the Sixth Form area into a central position within the school. Located in the Headmaster’s quad, the new library is the heartbeat of the school providing reading, study and learning space for the whole school. It is a wonderful new space for learning and was entirely funded by a legacy left to the AGS Foundation by Professor William Mead. The Professor was an Old Aylesburian, a former Foundation Governor, Chairman of Governors at AGS and a wonderful friend to the School, as well as Emeritus Professor of Geography at University College London.
Finally, the refurbishment and remodelling of the Sixth Form Centre is now complete. The facility provides a University style environment for our senior students with The Common Room and patio area as a social space, a study room for up to 40 students downstairs and a Learning Centre upstairs for 140 students. The new Sixth Form Learning Centre is being used for silent study and provides much needed space to our students. It is a fantastic space and was totally funded by a grant following a successful bid to the Capital Improvement Fund.
There is still a vast amount to do and our main focus for fundraising going forward is the Aylesburian Annual Fund
- The Aylesburian Annual Fund – Enriching and enhancing the educational experience of all students. The Aylesburian Annual Fund