Girl cannot retake final year in funding fracas

Verity Pitts from The Poplars, Littlehampton, is unable to retake her final year of school due to a funding issue
Verity Pitts from The Poplars, Littlehampton, is unable to retake her final year of school due to a funding issue
  • Teenager who failed her GCSEs wants to retake her final year at school but cannot be funded because she falls between two criteria
  • West Sussex County Council is in charge of funding school places but Government body funds students aged 16 and older
  • Mother says her daughter’s future is at stake

A teenager who wants to retake her final year of school feels she has been ‘chucked on the scrap heap’ after being told her place could not be funded.

Verity Pitts, 16, attended Davison High School in Selborne Road, Worthing where she failed all nine of her GCSEs due to illness despite being predicted to pass.

If people knew how hard I worked they would understand that if I didn’t miss as much as I did I wouldn’t be in this situation

Verity Pitts

She wants to retake them at the school, which she said had ‘massively boosted her confidence’ – but because Davison does not have a sixth form Verity cannot be funded by West Sussex County Council.

The council is responsible for funding education for pupils until year 11, but for students aged between 16 to 18 it is the responsibility of the Education Funding Agency, a government body.

Verity’s mother Linzi Pitts said they were told by the council’s admissions department that nothing could be done, which she feels has affected her daughter’s goal of taking Religious Studies at university.

She said: “Verity’s future depends on one person communicating with another and signing off on the funding moving from one department to another. Should it be that the rest of her academic life is affected just because she was ill and couldn’t work to the best of her ability?

“Are we penalising children who are ill for the rest of their lives?”

Verity, from The Poplars, Littlehampton, transferred to Davison from Littlehampton Academy in year nine and saw her grades improve.

But in the first term of year 11 she was off sick for eight weeks after getting tonsilitis and stress-related symptoms.

She said she was not able to catch up with her studies which is why she failed 
her GCSEs.

She said: “I wanted it so badly. If people knew how hard I worked they would understand that if I didn’t miss as much as I did I wouldn’t be in this situation.

“I feel like I have been chucked on the scrap heap.”

Verity has started studying a BTEC at Northbrook College in Littlehampton Road, Worthing, alongside two online GCSE courses which Linzi has paid £600 for so her daughter can stay in further education.

A county council spokesperson said: ‘West Sussex County Council’s education, training and employment manager will be getting in touch with Verity and her mother to support Verity in finding an alternative setting in which to take her exams.”

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