The transformative education we provide comes at a far greater cost than the funding we receive.
We receive around £6,000 per student in Government funding; this equates to around 15 hours a week of contact time. Our offer–35-hour weeks plus Saturday schools–provides transformative opportunities to some of London’s most disadvantaged students, but means we have an annual funding shortfall of around £750,000.
We could reduce the funding shortfall by reducing the number of subjects offered, increasing our class sizes, reducing our pastoral and co-curricular offer, removing sport and the cultural capital provision–but we don’t want to do that. If we are to ensure that children from deprived backgrounds are able to achieve their potential to access elite universities and careers, then it is clear that an education like that offered at Harris Westminster must be supported to continue.
Those from disadvantaged households are 55 times less likely to attend Oxbridge than independent school students. We know that attending elite universities often results in careers within the top professions, careers which disadvantaged students may feel are unattainable and therefore may not aspire to - a continuing barrier to social mobility.
If we are to ensure our students are supported, it is clear that we will need to enhance our pastoral offering: like all schools, Covid impacted the young people in our community and levels of mental health needs, burnout and stress have never been greater, especially amongst our disadvantaged students.
Many of our students face challenges not faced by their middle class peers: the need to have a part-time job to help contribute to the family income, caring responsibilities, the lack of suitable study space at home, unaffordability of books and enrichment opportunities, inability to pay for transport to attend school, and parents who may not be able to understand or be able to support their academic work.
It is our mission to support them and help them seize the opportunities they deserve. If you want to help us, click here to find out more.