King David School governor says funding gifted pupils is the key to reversing decline in standards

By Charlotte Oliver, December 4, 2013
Chair of governors at King David's School in Manchester, Joshua Rowe

Chair of governors at King David's School in Manchester, Joshua Rowe

The chairman of a leading Jewish Orthodox school has blamed the government's failure to provide funding for gifted pupils for British schools' failure to keep up with their international rivals.

In an open letter to The Times, Joshua Rowe, the chair of governors of King David High School in Manchester, said that “funding for excellence has virtually disappeared and academic and gifted pupils (and successful schools) are starved of resources”.

He said that, instead of aiding schools with high-achieving students, the education budget is being used up by the Coalition in areas of “social deprivation” – in a policy begun by the previous Labour government.

“Whether this exercise in social engineering actually works is highly debatable, but what is certain is that it has negative educational implications," said Mr Rowe.

“Successful schools are penalised, academic pupils are denuded of resources and as a result we fall behind in the international league tables.”

This week, UK students were found to have fallen behind their international rivals in test results across the board, failing to make the top 20 in maths, reading and science.

Eductation Secretary Michael Gove said that student performance in the UK was “at best stagnant, at worst declining”.

But according to Mr Rowe, “If we are serious about raising standards, then I suggest the first step is to ensure that our brightest and most gifted pupils are fully resourced and successful schools are rewarded.”

Last updated: 9:33am, December 4 2013