In Staffordshire schools that means another year of having to do more and more with minimal resources. Yet again, this county is at the bottom end of the funding pile, and has been so for the past decade.
The formation of the F40 group - the 40 worst-funded authorities - is an attempt, yet again, to raise for national debate our difficulties. Why should the young people in this county, and in other authorities within the group, be penalised by post code? Why should the staff of our schools face the ever present issue of a funding shortage?
Nationally, we are all subject to inspection. Our key stage results, GCSE and higher-level exam results are subject to comparison. Schools in more fortunate areas have budgets that we can only dream of. The spiral of financial disadvantage for Staffordshire pupils continues.
A recent, packed meeting at the county showground, attended by many headteachers and governors, expressed concern and anger that in 2002 we are still in this position, bearing in mind that there was cross-party support for the Staffordshire case from the early Nineties.
Chris McDonnell Headteacher Fulfen primary school Burntwood and 15 other members of the Staffordshire F40 Group