The Maharishi School will receive £1500 more per pupil than nearby comp according to DfE's own figures

Francis Gilbert's picture
Using the Free Schools Ready Reckoner I had a go at estimating how much per pupil the Maharishi school in Lancashire would receive next year when they become a "Free School". Since they state they are taking 75 pupils from primary and secondary, I was able to do an informed calculation on their possible funds. I assumed they will have 38 in Primary and 37 in Secondary, with 5% on Free School Meals in both primary and secondary. This is a generous FSM allocation because they're clearly a well-off private school at the moment with probably no pupils on FSM.  The figure according to the Reckoner is that they would receive £467,360 in total from the DfE. I then did the same calculation using the fees structure outlined on their website, which was a total of £479,388. My calculations suggested that they will have a short-fall of £12K in funding, if they had no FSM in Primary and in Secondary they'd have a shortfall of approximately £20K in funding because of the Pupil Premium. Quite a sum for such a small school. Nevertheless, even though they will have a short-fall, they'll be receiving £1537 more per pupil according to the Reckoner than the neighbouring secondary school, Ormskirk, which is ten minutes drive away. However, I suspect they'll be receiving quite a bit more per head than the figures projected by the Reckoner.

Will they need to do some Transcendental Meditation to solve the problem, a technique they teach in the school? Or will they simply have to ask Mr Gove for some cash that isn't shown on the Ready Reckoner? At the moment, their secondary school fees are £2,300 more than per pupil than the state average. I have a feeling the Ready Reckoner is not reliable at all and that this school must have been told of funds which have not been publicly declared.
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Francis Gilbert's picture
Mon, 31/01/2011 - 19:58

I have written to the school making enquiries about whether my estimates are accurate. This is what I wrote:

The Local Schools Network would be very interested to know about your funding and admissions arrangements when you become a free school. Will the costs per pupil be the same as the fees that you have set? What is your admissions' policy going to be, will students have to believe in TM? How many pupils will you have and what percentage will be on Free Schools Meals or/and have Special Educational Needs? I've done my own estimates which indicate you'll have a shortfall of amounting to thousands of pounds if the Ready Reckoner on the Free Schools Site is correct. How will you cover the shortfall? What extra grants are you getting?

Fiona Millar's picture
Tue, 01/02/2011 - 08:57

I think the story in yesterday's Financial Times made clear that free schools will get extra money. I think it is behind a paywall but here is the relevant paragraph:
"Officials said that free schools would be eligible for "diseconomy grants" - extra revenue to help schools in the early years when they are still not full and running and below their expected long term efficiency"
Since we are not allowed to know the size of these special grants, I think it is safe to say that they will cover any shortfall. A lot of extra funding certainly went into the early academies when they faced financial difficulties. One academy near me had a £1 million deficit paid off by the then DFES!
However funding is always difficult for small primary schools and it would be nice to think that they would be able call on extra funds when they need them. Unlikely to happen in this two tier system.

Sam's picture
Wed, 02/02/2011 - 14:17

I think this site is well worth a look:

Francis Gilbert's picture
Wed, 02/02/2011 - 18:08

Thanks for this Sam. As with Steiner schools, the more you look behind the "puffery" and "quackery" you find quite disturbing stuff, with evidence that TM causes psychological stress and is essentially the benign face of a cult.

Maharishi School Parent's picture
Mon, 07/02/2011 - 17:52

"....I was able to do an informed calculation on their possible funds"

I'm afraid you weren't. You've failed to account for several variables in the current funding arrangements, notably:

1. More students begin at Secondary phase than Primary which only has two small classes

2. Siblings - around half the kids - pay discounted fees

3. Fees quoted on the school website are split into two portions - compulsory fees and a voluntary donation

4. Children from poorer households receive assisted places

5. Parents and school have consistently raised additional funds well in excess of your notional deficit for the many years the school has been open.

So, no TM is required to balance the budget - though I expect Vedic Maths helps a little.

I'll resist the urge to respond to your rather sweeping assertion of 'disturbing stuff' and 'puffery' other than to say the school is well-established and a couple of OFSTED reports along with academic results etc are all in the public domain.

The school has few competitors, if these are measures you value, though personally I send my kids there as they've been given a great enthusiam for learning and love every second of every day they spend at school.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Mon, 07/02/2011 - 20:19

In response to the Maharishi Parent, you haven't answered the key point that the Ready Reckoner on the DfE website indicates the school will be better funded per pupil than the neighbouring comprehensive, which clearly takes a much wider social spectrum than your elite private school.

Euan Macpherson's picture
Tue, 08/02/2011 - 23:21

The Maharishi School is an "elite priviate school" only because successive Labour and Tory Governments (who did you vote for Francis?) have not made Consciousness-based Education available in state schools? Why not? Because the private schools are the means by which the ruling class perpetuates itself. If you want a good education, you have to pay for it and the poorer classes are locked out of the wheels of power and privilege for all time to come - that's Tory/Labour Utopia which you sign up to, Francis. It is not the fault of the Maharishi School that Consciousness-based Education is not available in state schools. If you had one democratic bone in your body, Francis, you would be campaigning for the introduction of Consciousness-based Education in all state schools instead of sniping from the sidelines at the few people who are doing good quality work in the world of education and offering a beacon of hope that it can be better in the future.

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