Rose Hill School

You may have noticed an entry on your optional levies form called ‘Rose Hill Library and Reading Scheme -£0.86’ and wondered what it was for. Here’s some info on the history and purpose of that donation!

Rose Hill is a primary school in the Rose Hill area of East Oxford (just beyond Iffley). It was rated ‘inadequate’and put into special measures in 2016, having been affected by teacher shortages, dilapidated buildings, and extreme social deprivation in the area.If you’re not familiar with East Oxford, the Rose Hill area is one of the 20% most deprived areas in England.

The centre of Oxford is wealthy, and 1 in 4 Oxford children attend private school –but, conversely, 1 in 4 Oxford children also live below the poverty line. This theme continues into Oxford University Access too: as of 2016, no students from Oxford’s most deprived areas had been admitted to Oxford in a decade. Higher education participation as a whole in Blackbird Leys, the next area on from Rose Hill, was at just 7.5% as of 2015. Wealthier Oxford suburbs (Headington, Summertown, etc), however, have some of the highest Oxford admissions rates in England.

With this in mind, in around 2010 (possibly earlier) Balliol established a volunteering partnership with Rose Hill Primary. Judging from JCR records, this seemsto have been going strong in around 2012, but by 2015, it had stopped altogether. As a result, it was decided at a GM in MT15 that the optional levy of 86p per term, which was set up to reimbursevolunteers’ travel, would become a general donation -the school could greatly benefit from supportforits library and reading scheme, both of which faced extensive cuts. The levy was therefore kept and the money is now donated to the school. (See the minutes from that GM.)

Since this last discussion of the levy, the situation at Rose Hill has deteriorated. In early 2016, the school was placed into special measures, and according to new government policy on multi-academy trusts, was supposed to be placed in the care of one immediately, so that it could receive help and funding (especially needed to repair buildings, which havesevere draft and leakage problems). The school emerged from special measures in November 2017,but isstill rated as ‘requires improvement.’ Meanwhile, it had to wait two years to receive an academy trust sponsor, and another year to receive any injection of funding – the funding was promised only in March 2019, and work to repair the school’s buildings, which have been considered inadequate for a decade,is only just beginning. Full restoration of the school is estimated to cost £9mn.The academy trust has granted Rose Hill just £1.3mn.

If you want to find out more, The Guardian visited Rose Hill once in 2016, and again in 2018:

Researched and written by Mia Liyanage, TT19