In a letter to the Banbury Guardian published today, local County Councillors Eddie Reeves and Kieron Mallon reiterated their support for Frank Wise School after former MP and Banbury High Steward, Sir Tony Baldry, publicly criticised the school’s funding arrangements.
Frank Wise provides specialist education for children and young adults with complex and often profound physical and learning disabilities. It is one of the most well-respected special schools in the country but is facing future funding pressures. This is despite an increase in ‘high needs’ funding by 17% in 2018/19 - 2020/21, which is set to rise to 26% in 2021/22, but Frank Wise has said the Government increase has not translated into more frontline funding for their school.
In a demonstration of support for Frank Wise, its parents and pupils, Councillors Reeves and Mallon have implored Oxfordshire County Council to deliver sustainable future funding for the school.
Frank Wise Special School sits at the boundary of our County Council divisions.
We write to reassure parents and staff that we stand foursquare with former Banbury MP, Sir Tony Baldry, in demanding that Oxfordshire County Council recognises the unique needs of the school and its pupils.
The County Council has worked superbly with Frank Wise to improve the physical fabric of the school, following the collapse of construction firm Carillion, which had been working on site. Now, the Council must redouble its efforts to ensure that sustainable per pupil funding is secured.
Throughout our time as Banbury Councillors - serving some 3 and 23 years respectively - we have always supported Frank Wise. We are immensely proud of it and we will always stand alongside its parents, pupils, and dedicated team.
Cllr Eddie Reeves and Cllr Kieron Mallon
Oxfordshire County Council
Both Councillors, who represent the Banbury Calthorpe and Bloxham and Easington Divisions respectively, added: “Frank Wise provides an outstanding education to some of our most in-need children. We know the County Council recognises the brilliant work the school does for its pupils but it needs more funding and for that funding to be sustainable. It is vital that any increase in Government money for special schools reaches the frontline at Frank Wise. We will continue to stand by its staff, parents, and pupils.”