Deficit of Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich quadruples

A-levels results day at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form. Headteacher Rebecca Handley-Kirk.Picture: ANTON

A-levels results day at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form. Headteacher Rebecca Handley-Kirk.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A flagship free school's deficit nearly quadrupled in the space of a year, despite improving student numbers.

The Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, which is based at the former fire station in Bethel Street, Norwich, had a deficit of £395,986 in 2014-15, according to the accounts of its sponsor, the Inspiration Trust.

Its deficit in 2013-14, the year it opened, was £100,481.

The Inspiration Trust said the shortfall was due to the gap between the per-student funding, and its staffing costs.

In November, this paper revealed the Inspiration Trust's board had consistently raised concerns about the deficit and student numbers at the maths and science institution, but the scale of the 2014-15 deficit was not then known.

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The latest Inspiration accounts said: 'The remedy for Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form's future is to establish a first-class reputation and increase the roll towards capacity.'

Its first student year group had less than a third of its maximum 220, but by the time it received a 'good' Ofsted rating last March it had 172, out of a maximum of 440. It now has 205.

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Inspiration Trust spokesman James Goffin said: 'As our accounts state, we made a conscious choice to prioritise the quality of teaching at Sir Isaac and that is borne out by our students' fantastic results last summer.

'Those results and Sir Isaac's rich and varied social and extra-curricular activities have already led to increased interest from students as they get to know more about us through our free GCSE workshops, visits to schools, and other events.

'As well as being an exceptionally high quality sixth form Sir Isaac also jointly leads the Norfolk and Suffolk Maths Hub, which is playing a crucial role in improving maths teaching at schools across the region.

'The financial shortfall represents less than 1pc of the annual turnover of the Trust and is entirely manageable in that context.'

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