23 May 2017
Jersey’s fee-paying schools will receive slightly less States funding in future if a proposition lodged today by the Education Minister is approved.
In October last year States Members approved the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2016 - 2019 and this included a proposal for ‘minor adjustments to grants for fee-paying schools’.
In line with a previous States decision, the Education Minister now has to take the unusual step of putting the proposal to the States a second time before it can be put into effect.
It will apply to States fee-paying schools (Victoria College, Victoria College Prep, Jersey College for Girls and Jersey College Prep) and private fee-paying schools (Beaulieu, De La Salle and FCJ Primary).
The change will mean that fee-paying schools receive an average of £82 less per pupil per year in 2018. This will rise to an average of £158 a year per pupil in 2019.
States schools receive funding per pupil. The precise amount is calculated using the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) ratio, which allocates different amounts depending on the age of the child and the cost of their education. It is, for instance, cheaper to educate a child in primary school than in secondary school.
Fee-paying schools generate their own funding through charges to parents. Since 1966, they have also received grants from the Education Department. The level of financial support they receive is allocated according to a formula put in place in 1978 under the Education (Grants to Private Schools) (Jersey) Regulations 1970 as follows:
Fee-paying schools receive 50% of the average cost of funding a pupil of the same age in a States non fee-paying school.
Fee-paying schools receive 25% of the average cost of funding for a pupil of the same age in a States non fee-paying school.
Under the proposal, these percentages will be reduced by 1.5% in 2018 and a further 1.5% in 2019.
Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said “This proposal does not seek to alter the fundamental structure of Jersey’s education system. The current financial partnership has been in place for 38 years and will remain in place. It provides financial benefits both to the taxpayer (who does not need to fund the full cost of education in fee-paying schools) and to parents (who do not have to meet the full cost of a private education).
The change to the funding formula will result in a saving of £600,000 once it is fully implemented.
Chief Education Officer Justin Donovan said “Reducing funding in education is always difficult but we have to make savings to help balance the States budget in future. This is the fairest way to achieve the saving we need because it is matched by financial efficiencies in our non fee-paying schools as well. The problem is shared across the system and the impact on any individual school or family is kept to the absolute minimum.
“It is important to stress that we have been speaking to the head teachers and governors of these schools throughout the process and I thank them for their professionalism. We all share the same aim, which is to give our children the best education we can with the resources available.”