1) Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates that U.K. schools will see an average 8% real-terms reduction in per-pupil funding between 2014 and 2020. The overall funding is basically static, but there are large additional expenses. The shortfall can only be met by staff cuts.
2) Schools need staff beyond teachers. Having a TA in the room gives SEN pupils a real chance of overcoming their difficulties and accessing education. Having a pastoral support team stops a mental health wobble derailing a young person’s future. And that all frees up teachers to focus on quality teaching.
3) We’re Brexiting. The government’s stated aim is to have fewer European migrants here. So we either need to start training more of our own hotshot accountants, doctors, nurses, IT dudes – or learn manage without them.
4) Extremist politics is on the rise. Soundbites are in fashion and facts are passé. As a democracy, we must respect people voicing their views. However, we can only survive as a functional democracy if we can effectively debate, discuss, analyse and reason. Schools are trusted by society to teach our children the skills and values that make them engaged citizens. If schools are struggling, the door is ajar for alternative ‘teachers’ to influence our children.
5) DfE can’t recruit enough maths & science graduates. Who is going to train the world-leading engineers of the future? Who’d apply to train as a teacher when funding is under threat and you might end up working with insufficient support staff?
6) We claim to be a modern economy. We don’t really have factories or fields any more. If we don’t have the skilled workforce to make the most of modern-world opportunities, then our economy will be based on soft services and property speculation. Sport and music are part of this – extra-curricular opportunities will be some of the first things to be cut in a budget squeeze.
7) I’m no expert – but ‘fairer funding’ seems to be biting an awful lot out of areas which have high deprivation. It might be ‘equal-er’ – but it’s hardly ‘fair-er’ to reduce support to kids who are already facing extra barriers in achieving their dreams.
Maybe the government have lost hope in us just like we’ve lost hope in them.
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