FINANCIAL issues at Malmesbury School have been discussed directly with the Secretary of State for Education, after its headteacher sent an alarming letter to parents warning of potential cuts at the school.

Tim Gilson wrote to parents of pupils that if the school doesn’t receive an increase in funding to match soaring costs, as they have been informed will be the case, the school will be forced to cut costs.

These could include, he said, an increase in class sizes, less choice over subjects and a reduction in expenditure on resources such as textbooks.

Wiltshire remains one of the most underfunded authorities in terms of funding for education, however costs are expected to increase for the school by eight per cent by 2020.

Mr Gilson’s letter was sent out after the school was informed it would not be receiving extra funds as part of the government’s recent National Funding Formula review, which is still in a consultation stage.

He urged parents to write to their MP, stressing the pressures already placed on the school.

North Wiltshire MP James Gray said he was “very concerned” about the situation and raised the issue with the Secretary of State for Education at a meeting on Tuesday, passing on letters from parents.

He will also be meeting with Mr Gilson tomorrow to discuss the problem.

In his letter, Mr Gilson said: “Whilst we are doing all we can to cut our costs wherever possible without impacting on the quality of our provision for students, we will inevitably see some changes that will have an impact over time.

“The situation at Malmesbury School is further complicated because we are a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) school and therefore we have no discretion in what we have to pay for our site management, cleaning, catering and facilities management costs as these are all part of a fixed annual charge.

“To put it bluntly we cannot save money by not painting a classroom as we pay the same every year whatever we do.

“We are also seeing increases in the charges made to the school by our PFI provider.”

Mr Gilson he was expecting to see a much-needed increase in funding for the school.

“We had always been told that the new formula would move money from very well-funded urban and urban fringe areas to poorly funded rural areas like us,” he said.

“In reality, what the new formula does is move more of the basic school funding to areas of high deprivation.

“Our view has always been that within our catchment area there is a huge range, with small pockets of deprivation.

“We have small, quite isolated and deprived communities where the needs are just as real.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said they consulting on plans to end the disparity in the school funding system.

They said: “We have protected the core schools budget in real terms so that school funding will be over £40billion in 2016-17 - its highest level on record.

“We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide advice and support to help them use their funding in cost-effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services, so they get the best possible value for their pupils.”