NASS Newsletter - January 2013

Local Council Funding: an update

Fair funding for small schoolsFollowing on from our December e-mail and our published newsletter for January which gives more detail, the DfE have felt obliged to make it clear they have raised the upper threshold to £200,000 saying that they see this as necessary to meet small school fixed costs. It seems to follow this is what should be offered. We believe that pressure from local MPs on Ministers and officials is creating this departmental concern to ensure that what is called the Minimum Funding Guarantee is applied. No school should receive a reduction in budget of greater than 1.5%. The kind of figures we know about seem to be ignoring such "guidance" but we understand it is not mere "guidance." The solution seems to be to use your local elected representatives to make that case for you. Councils have been able to ignore, even scorn what remains mere guidance on closure procedures and they may suppose they can do the same on funding. The NASS continues to represent small school concerns, attached is a letter from David Laws, Schools Minister.

FIRST CLOSURES: We have been contacted by Gembling primary school in the East Riding of Yorkshire (Ofsted good with several OS features) to say they have just received a letter virtually obliging closure by this summer. Though falling roll is cited, a recent meeting of heads and governors was told funding is the issue - as we feared. More closures are likely. The Authority offers consultation but has already said the decisions are made. So much for statutory guidance on procedure!

Read letter sent to NASS from Rt Hon David Laws MP regarding the impact on funding reforms on small schools.


Small Schools in Finland - the best in the world?

The average size of primary school in Finland is 50. Finland leads or is always near the top of international performance comparisons. Could this have anything to do with it? Along with a less divided and less unequal society? Presumably teachers and parents know each other as well as in UK small schools. Not too many years ago the Government and its Education Department had Three Wise Men- Chief Inspector Chris Woodhead, Chief Primary Inspector Jim Rose and Professor Robin Alexander. They undertook a study of early literacy and numeracy in several countries, including Finland. Finnish children led the world in early developments in literacy. One intriguing observation they related to this quality was the fact that Finland is largely a country of dark winters. Much of the country has but a handful of daylight hours and in some parts none at all for days and weeks on end. A very traditional pastime in such circumstances was families engaging in reading stories. Community values would be strong.

Read more about the Finnish Education System


Congratulations to Welbourn Primary School

Letter from Rt Hon David Laws MPWe were very pleased to see a letter from the Rt Hon David Laws MP which was sent to Vicky Cook at Welbourn Church of England Primary School in Lincolnshire. This was congratulating the school for its excellent performance in the Key Stage 2 mathematics and English tests ranking them as one of the top performing primary schools in the UK.

Well done to all staff and pupils for a commendable performance!

If you would like to read the letter, click here.

Children at the school with a mosaic they made

We would love to hear from any other small schools who have received such a letter?  Please email us.

Your comments…

“Thanks for the newsletter. John's Cumbrian perspective highlights the one size fits all Ofsted criteria don't work. We had an outstanding Ofsted, but on safeguarding we're told to buy some yellow fluorescent coats, and a lock for the boiler house, so we could be outstanding. RIDICULOUS. Nothing had changed!  Still I like the sound of local honey. Thanks again and keep up the hard work.”

Ian D. Devon



The Annual General Meeting is being held from 11am to 12am on Saturday 16th. March, in the London School of Contemporary Dance, virtually opposite Euston station, almost opposite St. Pancras: Kings Cross a few yards further: Bus 205 from Paddington via Marylebone: Join us in London later!

You are very welcome to join us and we would welcome your interest and comments. The formal notice is in the January member's newsletter, with the subscription renewal notice.



Please renew promptly. Subscription to the NASS is just £15 per school and £10 for the individual membership. It is only with your support that we can continue our work and only by working together, can we make a difference. As a member you have access to the personal advice and support of the NASS. New members are always welcome. Please make your cheques payable to the NASS and send to Jeffersons: 6 South Bar, Banbury OX16 9AA.


February Enews

The next Enews will be about 'Schools in the Community' - what does your school mean to your community? We would love to hear your examples, please email us.

We are looking for photographs of small schools - if you would like your small school to be featured in our Enews, please email us with a photograph.

If you have any contributions for our newsletter please email us or write to us at:
National Association for Small Schools
'Quarrenden' - Upper Red Cross Road,
Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG8 9BD
Tel: 0845 2235029