De Aston School at centre of cash appeal for building upgrades
STAFF at De Aston School – the area's premier state boarding school – are at the heart of a national appeal for extra funding for building upgrades at such institutions.
De Aston School's head of boarding, Steve Bunney, joined Market Rasen MP Edward Leigh at the State Boarding Schools' Association conference in London.
Despite De Aston having a thriving boarding community of 80 students, as an academy, no money is forthcoming from Lincolnshire County Council to help with building upgrades.
Mr Bunney has urged central government to tackle more actively the need for real financial backing for De Aston and other schools in this specialist field.
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He said: "We are pushing for capital funding and to compete on a level playing field with independent schools.
"The two things we presently cannot do is borrow money in the way that independent schools do, nor can we use fees to upgrade facilities.
"The Government says it wants to encourage state boarding, yet, at the same time, doesn't seem to be providing money for building upgrades.
"There is also a need to support students in cases such as when a family moves and doesn't want to move the children in the middle of an exam course. We are an academy now and want to use fees to improve boarding facilities and to support students. Ideally we would like to rebuild the boarding block."
Mr Leigh added that he "fully supports" the State Boarding Schools'Association and its member schools.
He added: "These places of learning offer opportunities for pupils who might otherwise be excluded from the boarding experience.
"I am proud to have a state boarding school in my constituency and to represent them in Parliament.
"I know that state boarding schools are a vital part of parents' options for state education and we should be doing what we can to encourage this sector to grow and develop."
Boarder Angel Thompson, 15, said: "I have been here boarding for four years. What is good is that we can join local organisations in Market Rasen and I go to the Air Training Corps and have a great time."
David Howden, 16, added: "I came to board here from London. I enjoy the company. I was distracted while trying to learn in London, but that does not happen here."