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Meeting the Needs of the Community: Chapter 6 - Identifying the needs of Totton

6.1 Public Surveys

1. The starting point for establishing what the needs of Totton are, is to ask the population of Totton what they believe is required. Three surveys were conducted, each posing slightly different questions. Although the objectives of each survey may have been different, they all identified what the population of Totton viewed as necessary.

2. The first survey was conducted in 2014 at the Family Fun day, held at Testwood Recreation Ground on June 16, 2014. The demographics of the ten people interviewed are given in table 6.1.

Table 6.1. Demographics of 2014 Survey

3. The questionnaire then posed 11 questions which had the intention of trying to establish what aspects of social life St Winfrid’s Church could address. In respect of what those interviewed believed was needed for young people, the following issues were identified:

  • · More clubs and other activities; and,

  • · Safe places to meet and discuss issues

4. For parents and other working age adults the view was that there should be:

  • · More affordable meeting places; and,

  • · More places of local entertainment

5. For elderly adults the view was that there should be:

  • · More meeting places.

  • · More events organised for elderly adults; and,

  • · More house visits.

6. When asked what the priorities should be, the view was that:

  • · There should be more locations where people of all ages can come together,

  • · More events for the whole family; and,

  • · A centre that feels like the heart of the town.

7. The design of the questionnaire and the sampling process were not ideal. Whilst the collection of data from the Fun Day was useful, as it provided an indication that local residents believed that there should be more social interaction within the town, it was realised, however, that in order to obtain better data, there needed to be a complete rewriting of the questions and increasing the sample size, which was not possible at the time.

8. Following the murder of the Member of Parliament Jo Cox in 2016, and the focusing of government policy on social isolation, the 2017 survey, conducted by two university students, attempted to analyse the level of social isolation in and around Totton (Islam & Green, 2017). The authors defined social isolation as ‘an objective state determined by the quality of social relationships and contacts between individuals, across groups and communities’ (Griffiths, 2017, p. 3).

9. The criteria used by the authors was based on two concepts, social disconnectedness, that is a physical separation from others, and perceived isolation including feelings of loneliness and lack of support. Based upon these concepts the authors attempted to identify those who were living alone; unmarried; having a small social network; having little participation with social activities; and feeling lonely, from which they were intending to assess the following:

  • · Whether there is scope and a demand for the project to occur.

  • · Determine how the community is/is not already utilizing the current facilities, and why this might be.

  • · Explore the kinds of activities that residents would like to see/participate in, and when would be the most suitable time to run these activities.

  • · Establish to what extent individuals are socially disconnected and their perceived level of isolation – both factors can be potentially indicative of social isolation.

  • · Understand community demographics.

  • · Be able to give the participant the opportunity to get involved with the running of this project or to stay alerted as to the upcoming activities. (Islam & Green, 2017, p. 8)

10. The main findings of the survey indicated that there was a serious interest in the provision of café facilities. This suggested that social interaction was viewed as important. However, many did not believe that they were socially disconnected or socially isolated. This may be in part due to the way in which social interaction has switched from face to face to online through social media, but more likely because of the social demographics of Totton.

11. It was also recognised within the survey, as with the 2014 survey, that there was a lack of provision for the young and disabled. Possible suggestions for how to resolve these issues were also in line with the 2014 survey, although interest was shown in holding more musical events. What was important though was the need to communicate better.

12. The 2017 survey did have limitations. Firstly, the statistical data used only centred on one part of Totton and not the whole, therefore an accurate picture of what Totton was like at the 2011 census was not given.

13. Secondly, the survey was carried out mainly at Asda and not at the other main supermarket in the town.

14. Thirdly, it included residents from Hythe. Whilst this might have distorted the data, there was apparently no follow up to establish why people from Hythe were coming to Totton.

15. Fourthly, the report acknowledged that the methodology used could not identify anyone who was being socially isolated. It therefore became apparent from the work already conducted, that there was an association between the needs of Totton and social isolation, but no one had shown or argued whether that association was justified, and if all the needs of the town had been identified.

16. Fifthly, over a third of the respondents were aged 61 and over, who represent approximately one quarter of the overall population of the town, and as a result the responses were at risk of being skewed towards their perspectives of the town.

17. Finally, the whole purpose of the survey and the report was to identify non-faith options for the church to adopt. What this did was enhance the misconception that the church and society should be separate and ultimately undermined the message that the church may have wanted to give.

18. A further survey was conducted on the 24th July 2018 on the Totton Facebook page. The question posed was ‘Would anyone like to share what you like about living in Totton; and what you don’t like about Totton; and, what would you like to see in Totton?’. The results of this survey are shown in table 6.2.

Table 6.2 Results of Facebook Survey

19. As can be seen from the results, the general location of the town was perceived as a benefit, with its close location to the New Forest and Southampton being some of the reasons given. The town was also viewed in general as being friendly with good facilities such as GP surgeries, dentists etc.

20. Despite having good facilities, there was a view given that there was a lack of variety in the type of shopping available, with complaints of too many estate agents and charity shops being present. Of more concern for the respondents though was the perceived level of crime, or more specifically the perceived level of anti-social behaviour and the lack of police to deal with the problem.

6.2 Index of Multiple Deprivation

21. The issue with using questionnaires, especially when trying to identify the needs of Totton as a whole, is that they only highlight the personal needs of those interviewed, and not necessarily highlighting the real issues the town faces.

22. In order to identify the real issues faced by Totton, it is necessary to interrogate statistical data, such as the Index of Multiple Deprivation, and its underlying indices for 2015[1] and 2019[2]. The index reflects the level of deprivation, and achieves this by considering seven areas of social life, or domains, using different sources of information (table 6.3).

Table 6.3 source of index of multiple deprivation[3]

23. Each of these domains is awarded a value, from which a final score is obtained, using a series of statistical and mathematical calculations. These final scores are then ranked in order, with the most deprived area in England ranked 1, and the least deprived ranked 32,844.

24. Whilst 11 out of the 19 areas of Totton (Table 6.4) were deemed to be in the upper 50% of the least deprived areas of England, 8 were found to be in the lower 50%, but of more concern is that the level of deprivation in the majority of Totton worsened.

Table 6.4 Index of Multiple Deprivation for Totton – 2015 against 2019

25. However, caution must be taken in interpreting these results. The index is relative to every ward within the country, it compares one ward against another based upon key criteria. If each ward had the same problems, everyone had the same qualifications, the same jobs and rates of pay, and had access to all the facilities measured, then the ranking would become meaningless, as it would not be possible to make comparisons. It is therefore important not to use the overall ranking as a guide to the level of deprivation within Totton, but to examine the underlying domains and any supporting data.

6.3 Income

26. The first domain to be examined is that of Income. Table 6.5 lists again how the income domain is constructed, which is anyone receiving a benefit paid by the Department for Works and Pensions.

Table 6.5 Construction of Income Domain

27. Table 6.6 details the income rank for the 19 LSOAs of Totton (in respect to 2015 compared to 2019), and reveals those areas of Totton where those receiving benefits are focused.

Table 6.6 Income Deprivation of Totton (2015 against 2019)

28. Whilst the rankings may suggest where the level of income being received may be an issue, they do not reveal the magnitude of the problem.

29. The domain scores that underpin the income ranking, are based upon the proportion of the population receiving benefits against the population of the LSOA. It is therefore relatively straightforward in calculating an estimate of the number of benefit claimants within each LSOA (Table 6.7).

Table 6.7 Population of Totton receiving Benefits (IMD 2019 against 2015)

30. Without a detailed examination of the underlying benefits data, it is not possible to accurately determine what is happening, but it is possible to make some general conclusions.

31. Using information obtained on the number of social housing properties within Totton (UK Social Housing, 2020) it is possible to perform a regression analysis between the proportion of social housing within each LSOA, and the income score, to determine if there is any association between the concentration of social housing with those claiming benefits, and therefore low incomes.

32. With an R2 of 0.7529, there is a strong correlation between the number of people claiming benefits and the level of social housing within the LSOA. This implies that there is some relationship between those claiming benefits and social housing. However, it does not prove that everyone claiming benefits only live within social housing, but it is reasonable to conclude that those claiming benefits are more likely to be living within social housing because of the lower rents.

33. It is also possible, interrogating the IMD data further, to identify changes to the age of benefit claimants within Totton (Table 6.8).

Table 6.8 Changes in Benefit recipients within Totton (2015 against 2019)

34. What table 6.8 suggests, and is confirmed by examining the correlation between each age group and social housing, that it is the structure of the household within private and social housing that is influencing claims in income benefit, rather than social housing itself, although some of the largest increases are within the social housing sector.

35. However, the level of benefits being claimed reported within the IMD may not correctly reflect the level of relative poverty found within the population of Totton. This can be highlighted, in the first instance by the number of children receiving free school meals.

36. The first full year of data available (table 6.9) for Hampshire County Council is 2011/12 (Department for Education, 2019).

Table 6.9 Provision of free school meals in Totton 2011/12

37. The data from 2011/12 showed that 10.4% of the total school population within Totton were receiving free school meals, which meant that benefits were either the main income into the household, or benefits were being used to increase the level of income into the household. The data also shows that a further 7.4% of the school population had received free school meals up to six years before.

38. Examining the data for 2018/19, the current situation has appeared to have worsened by 23% (table 6.10), implying that poverty persists within the town.

Table 6.10 Provision of free school meals in Totton 2018/19

39. However, the IMD domain for Income, which is frequently used to suggest poverty exists, suggests that the total number of children living in households where the level of income falls below 60% of the national median income is 638, as compared to 554 claiming free school meals.

40. Whilst it has to be acknowledged there may be timing issues surrounding the data, the most likely explanation for this difference is the inclusion of children under the age of 5 who are not attending school, and by implication there is a continuing flow of children in poverty entering the schooling system.

41. In addition, the use of both the IMD and free school meals as a guide to the level of poverty, still underestimates the actual level of poverty, because of a cap in the amount of Universal Credit that can be received by households, which currently stands at £20,000, and the level of income a household can bring in, which currently is £7400, before benefits are reduced.

42. This means that a family with a gross household income of say £18000, would be eligible for Universal Credit top up, but not free school meals, meaning that the children could be facing the same problems that children from identified poor families would face, but have no additional help from the school.

43. To establish how many families in Totton are caught in this unseen poverty, sometimes known as the middle-class squeeze, is not possible from the data available, but the House of Commons were advised in 2019 that in the UK 11.1 million people were living in relative poverty (Francis-Devine, et al., 2019). It is possible though to evaluate the magnitude of the problem by using the differing methods used in measuring relative poverty.

44. The government definition of relative poverty is 60% or below of the UK’s median wage. For 2019, the median disposable household income was £29,400 (Office for National Statistics, 2019). Therefore, 60% of that figure would be £17,640, and as a result if the family income exceeds that figure, they are not deemed poor.

45. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation defines relative poverty through calculating periodically the needs of a household and the cost of meeting those needs (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2016 (a), p. 24). The 2016 report concluded that the minimum level of income required was between £286.53 and £776.28 per week, depending on the structure of the household, which includes rent (or mortgage) and childcare, which equates to £14899.56 and £40366.56 per year (table 6.11).

Table 6.11 Minimum income standard

46. However, it is important to note that the calculations incorporate the cost of renting a property at social housing rates, but does not account for those who have a mortgage, or those with older children, and therefore fails to account fully the issues faced by families facing financial pressures.

47. What therefore is the average income for households in Totton? There is no information available for Totton itself, but data is available for the Parliamentary Constituency of New Forest East, which covers all the Waterside including Totton. The official figures from the Office for National Statistics website, which are based upon their annual survey, state that the gross weekly median income for men for the New Forest East constituency was £667.80, and for women £494.30 (Office for National Statistics, 2019).

48. Calculating the tax and National Insurance due on those earnings the net weekly take home pay would be £522.10 and £404.12, equating to a net annual income of £27149.2 and £21014.24, respectively. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that there are a significant number of households where families within Totton are facing financial hardships, and are not being identified in any official or unofficial statistics, which results in the parents either coping with the income they have, or being forced to both work, or have more than one job.

6.4 Employment

49. The second domain contained within the IMD is that of employment. The domain is constructed of the following measurements (Table 6.12).

Table 6.12 Construction of Employment IMD Domain

50. The employment scores are based upon the number of individuals that are claiming the benefits listed, as a proportion of the population for each Lower Super Output Area. As a result, it is possible to obtain an estimate of the number of individuals receiving benefits (table 6.13).

Table 6.13 2019 Employment IMD scores for Totton

51. The IMD data therefore suggests that across the town between 2.7% and 12% of the population are receiving benefits, with an average for the town at 7.1%. Whilst correlating the level of benefits claimed against social housing produces an R2 value of 0.5852, which suggests a moderately strong relationship between the data, it should be noted that 3 areas of the town have over 10% of the population on benefits, New Forest 002C (Figure 6.1); New Forest 004E (Figure 6.2), and New Forest 002D (Figure 6.3), all of which have the highest concentration of social housing.

Figure 6.1 New Forest LSOA 002C

Figure 6.2 New Forest LSOA 004E

Figure 6.3 New Forest LSOA 002D

52. One of the key problems with the IMD statistics is that it uses old data and may not reflect the true position of benefit claimants within Totton. Department for Works and Pension data (Department for Works and Pensions, 2020) provisionally shows that 1235 individuals in the SO40 postcode were receiving Universal Credit (as of November 2019); 27 individuals claiming Jobseekers Allowance (as of May 2019); 20 claiming Incapacity Allowance (as of May 2019); and 70 individuals receiving carers allowance (as of May 2019).

53. From the current information it is therefore reasonable to conclude that the IMD data for employment is a reasonable representation of the level of unemployment within the town, despite the age of the data.

6.5 Education, Skills and Training

6.5.1 Overview

54. The third IMD domain is education, skills, and training. The domain is a composite of two sub domains, one examining the level of qualifications obtained by the town’s young people and whether they went onto University, the other examining the number of adults in the town who have a level 1 qualification or below, and those who are unable to speak or poorly speak English.

Table 6.14 Totton’s Education, Skills and Training IMD Ranking 2019

55. Table 6.14 reveals that only 7 of the 19 areas of Totton were ranked in the top 50% of the country, suggesting that Totton has some issues that are affecting the education of the population, which will be discussed further. What is clear though is that those areas of Totton ranked in the lower 40% of the country have the higher proportion of social housing.

6.5.2 Skills and Training

56. Examining the Adult Skills and Training of the population of Totton first, the level of information available online is limited but reveals effectively the same message. The IMD for the town (table 6.15) suggests that the level of education and the ability to speak English within the town is low in places but is not sufficiently low to affect the overall ranking for the domain.

Table 6.15 Totton Adult Skills and Training sub-domain IMD ranking 2019

57. Breaking the sub-domain into its constituent parts, the 2011 Census showed (table 6.16) that only a small number of the population who did not have their first language as English, could not speak English well or at all, and that the majority were 25 years old or older.

Table 6.16 Population of Totton who could not speak English well or at all

58. Table 6.17 details the highest level of qualification at the 2011 Census held by individuals within Totton, with level 2 representing a GCSE grade C or above, which is recognised as representing the minimum required standard to progress onto A levels, degrees or work. The Census revealed that in 2011 8,729 people, over the age of 16, either held no qualification or a GCSE (or equivalent) no higher than grade D (where grade C is the required level).

Table 6.17 – Educational attainment of over 16’s in Totton 2011 (source ONS[4])

59. However, the data contained in table 6.17 includes those over the age of 65, who historically did not require to have formal qualifications in order to obtain work. Interrogating the data further, the number of residents living in Totton over the age of 16 but under the age of 65 who held a level 1 qualification or lower was 5,705, and correlation analysis revealed that there was a weak correlation between the level of qualification gained and social housing.

60. Why is the level of qualification obtained or the ability to speak English important? There is the obvious answer that it assists in obtaining a well-paid job. However, it has been recognised since at least the 1980s, that despite the best efforts of teaching staff, the involvement of parents in their children’s education is important (Cotton & Wikelund, 1989).

61. For parents to be able to assist their children it is important that they are able, or be able, to understand the subjects that their children are learning. This means that the level of education within each household is important, and it is reasonable to suggest that the ability of a significant number of parents to assist their children in their learning is hindered because they do not have a level of qualification that would assist them in understanding what is being taught.

62. The effects of the level of qualification within the household, as well as other factors such as the funding of schools, can be seen within the other sub-domain of those under the age of 16.

6.5.3 Education – Young People

63. On 11th January 2019, the Secretary of State for Works and Pension, Amber Rudd, explained her proposed changes to the Universal Credit benefit (Department for Works and Pensions, 2019 (a)). Contained within her speech were some basic assumptions, those being that work was the only way for anyone to get out of the trap of poverty and reliance on benefits, and that everyone can obtain a well-paid job.

64. These assumptions are based on neoclassical economic theory, which places individuals in a marketplace where their training and skills have a value, which businesses are either prepared to pay or not. More importantly businesses can dictate the price they are prepared to pay for labour, and what those in the labour market are prepared to accept. Either way there is a need for those in the labour market to be sufficiently educated.

65. However, not everyone obtains a good education, obtains the relevant qualifications and the subsequent jobs, creating an inequality within society which prevents individuals from getting jobs or feeling valued. The question is why?

66. Several different arguments have been put to explain why some children do better than others, but one of the strongest explanations has been the relationship between poverty and educational attainment. The link between poverty and educational attainment is not a direct link but more cause and effect. Poverty within a family unit can reveal itself through lack of income, parents with poor education, and poor housing conditions. These in and of themselves do not create poor educational achievement, but contribute to the ability of children to focus on what they are required to study, and the ability to be helped by their parents outside of school (West, 2007).

67. The question that must therefore be asked is whether the view that work takes people out of poverty is correct. The problem with the type of poverty faced in the United Kingdom is that it is cyclical in nature, feeding back upon itself (figure 6.4).

Figure 6.4 Cyclical nature of poverty in UK

68. There are two ways in which this poverty cycle can be explained. The first method would be through providing the technical reasons for what happens and matching up any evidence found within Totton to support the explanation. The second method is the reverse of that, providing the evidence with a supporting explanation. It is this later method that will be used.

69. Whilst there is evidence to suggest that poverty is present within Totton, and is closely associated with income, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation review of the literature on educational deprivation, argued that family income in and of itself may not be the only reason for the poor performance of children, but that the quality of teaching and how the school reacts to conditions such as a child turning up to school unkempt, or having to be given something to eat for breakfast (Marchant, 2019), may be a reason for poor performance. However, before examining school policies and procedures it is important to first establish where the problems lie within Totton.

70. The Children and Young People Sub Domain of the Index of Multiple Deprivation attempts to assess the level of education attained by children and incorporates the following measures:

  • · The average point score at key stage 2.

  • · The average point score at key stage 4 (for grades A* -C).

  • · Secondary school absence.

  • · Staying on at school post 16 based upon the receipt of child benefit; and,

  • · Entry to higher education

71. The calculation of the score is complex. It is assumed, because of the size of each of the LSOAs, and the number of children within each locality, using standard statistical testing would result in misleading results, what is known as statistical error. To overcome this problem the data is translated, using a series of mathematical calculations, into a format where standard statistical testing can take place, and then that transformed data can then be converted back to the local level.

72. There are risks with this procedure and the authors of the IMD have gone to great lengths to verify that whilst the process does distort the original data, the majority of LSOAs remain within the same decile of deprivation. Whilst it must be acknowledged that the procedures used are acceptable statistical practice, they ultimately do not convey the true position of each locality.

73. The IMD scores for educational deprivation in Totton are recorded in table 6.18.

Table 6.18 – IMD - Education Deprivation Totton

74. What the data begins to suggest is that those areas in 2015 that were in the bottom 10% of the English wards for achievement have improved but to the cost of other areas worsening. Of more importance though is that the poor scores are once again focused on those areas with higher social housing.

75. It should be noted that there are two issues with the measures used to calculate the IMD for education. The first is that not all children want to go onto College and further education. This may be due to lack of qualifications, but it also may be a choice decision. The same is true about going to University. Secondly, the decision to go to college and or University may be taken later in life. Therefore, deprivation may be calculated on choice decisions not on those being forced onto people.

76. To examine what is happening, it is vital to examine each individual element of the IMD domain. The first element is Key Stage 2 or commonly known as the ‘SAT test’. The ‘SAT test’ is taken in the final year of junior school when the children are aged 11 and assesses the child’s ability in reading; grammar punctuation and spelling; writing and mathematics.

77. The way the children are assessed is through a combination of teacher assessed and externally assessed examinations. The results of each individual pupil are then scaled to a predetermined score of between 80 and 120, where any scaled score of over 100 is defined as reaching the expected standard.

78. Table 6.19 shows the usual statistics that both the government and schools release (excluding grammar, punctuation, and spelling).

Table 6.19 key stage 2 results – Totton Junior Schools 2019

79. The tests have come under increasing criticisms over recent years, with teachers complaining that those with learning issues, those receiving free school meals, and those who do not have English as their first language, are all facing increased pressures from the fear of not achieving the expected score, because school management has to focus on ensuring the school obtains the best grades (The Independent, 2017).

80. The statistics shown in Table 6.19 show the success rate of each of the junior schools within Totton, but they also, in reverse, reveal the number of children not achieving the expected standard. Converting the percentages into numbers, table 6.20 shows the number of children who failed to obtain the expected grade in each of the three subjects, and the number of children who did not achieve to get all three.

Table 6.20 Number of children not achieving expected standards at Key Stage 2 (2019)

81. Table 6.20 implies that at the end of the academic year 2018/19, 75 children left junior/primary schools in Totton not having the excepted standard in reading; 43 in writing; and 44 not having reached the expected standard in maths. Irrespective of the causes, the fact remains that many 11-year olds are transferring to the secondary schools facing a disadvantage. The question that must therefore be asked is why?

82. The article in the Independent highlights the argument made by teachers that school management are focusing on ensuring high SAT results at the cost of the welfare of the children. Is there any evidence to support this belief or are their other factors involved?

83. Answering that question is problematic in that approaching schools directly would either receive no answer at all or an answer that would not reflect what is happening. Therefore, it is necessary to approach the question from a slightly different perspective, that of how schools deal with children receiving free school meals, who it is presumed require more attention to compensate for the effects of poverty.

Table 6.21 Number of Pupils receiving Free School Meals and their Key Stage 2 Grades (2018/19)

84. Comparing tables 6.20 and 6.21, together with additional information provided in the school data, it can be concluded that some of the children who did not achieve an expected grade, or higher, in any or all the tests, were children who received free school meals. However, it can also be concluded that many of the children receiving free school meals did achieve the expected grade or above, and this implies that additional effort was made by the schools to achieve this.

85. To identify how much additional effort, it is possible to establish the policies and practices adopted by each school to assist those receiving free school meals through the Pupil Premium received by each school (Table 6.22).

Table 6.22 Analysis of Junior/Primary School Policies on using Pupil Premium (2019)

86. Whilst the individual policies may vary between each school, every school recognises the effects the home can have on children, in line with the academic evidence, and the need to increase the level of assistance given to those children.

87. However, increasing the focus of teachers on those receiving the benefits of the Pupil Premium has a serious risk. Louise Holt, in her doctoral thesis (Holt, 2003), examined the issues faced by teachers and pupils at two primary schools in respect of integrating Special Educational Needs (SEN) children into standard classes.

88. One of the issues identified was that teachers tended to prioritise their focus on the non-SEN children to ensure that they were successful in their SAT tests. As a result, those children who were under a SEN statement were at increased risk of not achieving.

89. The reverse may also be true in that if teachers switch their focus of attention to those receiving the Pupil Premium, then less attention is paid to the more able pupils. There is however little evidence to support whether this is happening, and what evidence there is requires the reader to infer.

90. The next element in the education domain of the IMD, is Key Stage 4, which are simply the GCSE results that occur at the end of year 11, when pupils are aged 16. There are two secondary schools within Totton, Hounsdown and Testwood, and the results for 2018 are given in table 6.23.

Table 6.23 Examination grades Totton Secondary Schools 2018[5]

91. Whilst table 6.23 records the number of pupils passing at all levels, grade 4 and above are treated as the minimum level that will allow a pupil to progress onto A levels (although the GCSEs can be resat at college). It is also the cut-off grade for calculating the education domain for the IMD, with the number of pupils failing to gain grade 4 or above (table 6.24) being used as an indication of deprivation.

Table 6.24 Number of children leaving Totton Secondary Schools 2018 with GCSE grades 1-3[6]

92. To establish what is possibly causing these poor results, Table 6.25 details the 2019 results of year 11 pupils based upon their level of attainment at key stage 2.

Table 6.25 GCSE grades obtained based upon prior attainment[7]

93. What the table reveals is that nearly all those pupils who attained a low grade at key stage 2, did not achieve an adequate grade at GCSE, and there were some at higher attainment levels who also failed.

94. For those receiving the pupil premium, there were also mixed results. At Hounsdown, 14 of the 24 students receiving the premium obtained a grade 4 or above in English and Maths. At Testwood, 13 of the 37 pupils receiving the premium obtained a grade 4 or above in English and Maths.

95. It should be noted that whilst the number of students who have Special Educational Needs are recorded within the official statistics of each school, their progress including their results is not recorded separately, and therefore it is possible that some of those pupils who have not obtained Grade 4 or above, are members of this group.

96. The question that must therefore be asked is why? The Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests a number of different causes to explain why children do not obtain the expected level of education required to meet the demands society places on them (Raffo, et al., 2007). It is reasonable to conclude that in addition to poverty, parents being poorly educated, and disability, the most significant cause of this failure could be within the school system itself.

97. Whilst the schools may have been working hard to improve the level of education of their pupils, regardless of the level of deprivation or educational need those children may find themselves in, these improvements must be put at risk from the financial pressures being placed on the schools from government, which are reflected in the grant per pupil received by the schools (table 6.26) and the level of teaching staff (table 6.27).

Table 6.26 Income per pupil[8]

Table 6.27 Level of teaching staff and pupil ratio[9]

98. Both tables reveal that Testwood and Hounsdown schools are encountering reductions in their finances and staffing levels, with Testwood being affected the most. In respect to finances, whilst there appears to be only a small decrease or rise in the amount received per pupil, accounting for inflation, Testwood should have been receiving £6,157 per pupil and Hounsdown £5,330.

99. Similarly, whilst Testwood has incurred a material reduction in teaching staff, this has only been supported by a reduction in the number of pupils, although it should be noted that both schools have a pupil/teaching ratio that is under the national average of 20.4 (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2017).

100. The result of these reductions can only mean that the demands being placed upon teachers has been increasing, placing the quality of education given at risk, and ultimately the GCSE grades obtained by pupils, especially for those entering secondary school who were deemed to achieved a low grade at key stage 2.

101. This view is accepted in part by the Chair of Hounsdown’ School Governors (Double, 2019). She acknowledges the financial pressures being placed on the school, not only from the amount being given from the Department for Education, but also from the rising costs of salaries, cost of recruitment and retention, and dealing with an increasing number of pupils with Special Needs requirements and mental health issues. She does though argue that despite all the pressures, the priority for the school is to achieve the best for their pupils and obtaining the best from their staff, but not at any price.

102. The education domain also considers the number of pupils that continue onto further and higher education. Statistics produced for each secondary school (table 6.28), reveals that each year between two thirds and three quarters of the pupils attending both secondary schools continue with their education, either at a further education college such as Eastleigh or Brockenhurst, or at 6th form colleges such as Totton.

Table 6.28 Pupils progressing onto further education[10]

103. The number of students who then progress onto University can be obtained from the Office for Students (Office for Students, 2019). The latest data produced by the regulator gives the proportion of students who sat their GCSEs between 2010 and 2014, who then went onto University (table 6.29).