Funding falls away, but projects keep going

13th February 2009 at 00:00

Sir tom Hunter's charitable foundation has denied that it withdrew funding from schools in Glasgow because it was unimpressed by headteachers' attempts to plan for the long term.

The Hunter Foundation will not hand over the last third of Pounds 300,000 earmarked for six city secondaries, as part of the Scottish Government's Schools of Ambition programme, and weekend reports suggested it was blaming headteachers.

Chief executive Ewan Hunter explained that the contrary was true: the foundation had been highly impressed with how heads had used the funding, and they were in no way responsible for it being pulled. He would not, however, be drawn into who was to blame, only adding that "investment in education is not unconditional" and that programmes had to show they could survive once the foundation's funding stopped.

The blow was softened after the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council told The TESS that they would not cut off their share of funding for the final year, both having pledged larger amounts than the Hunter Foundation.

Nevertheless, some school staff have privately expressed dismay at the withdrawal of Sir Tom Hunter's funding which works out as just under Pounds 17,000 per school. The schools - Drumchapel High, Eastbank Academy, Govan High, Hillhead High, Rosshall Academy and St Andrew's Secondary - had started a wide range of initiatives to stop young people falling out of education, employment or training.

St Andrew's headteacher Bruce Malone, however, took a philosophical view. He was "really grateful" for the support provided by the Hunter Foundation, which had helped increase the number of pupils passing exams and lower post-school unemployment. He was confident that the projects set up by Schools of Ambition had enough momentum to keep going despite the reduction in funding.

Willie Hart, Glasgow secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said: "We would always wish that schools did not have to rely on funding from a charitable body."

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