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Why are England’s Schools at Breaking Point?

Funding cuts to schools
There is a large disparity between what the government claims are "record amounts" of funding going into schools and what teachers and heads are experiencing first hand, seeing "cuts" to their education budgets more than ever...why is this? and who is telling the truth?...
The Guardian's in-depth analysis team have produced this six-minute video to shed some light on the issue:

Translation:

The government rapping state schools in England and more flush with cash than ever the speaker "there is more money going into our schools in this country than ever before, investing record amounts in our school that school funding this year is at a record high".

But the UK Statistics watchdog has scolded the government several times for misrepresenting the figures, so there must be more to this story....what's the big question everyone has to answer? Because, if the picture is so rosy, why are banners like this going up outside playgrounds? More parents giving begging letters to help keep schools afloat... who's telling the truth about school funding?

The government says that school spending is at record levels and if you look at total spending on schools in England that's broadly true, however, the number of people's has gone up by about nine percent since 2010. That's an extra 700,000 pupils across state-funded schools in England and when you look at spending per pupil that's gone down by their 8% in real terms since 2009.

So there's less amount of money per pupil for each school so between 2017 and 18. The government spent 49 billion pounds on schools which is why they say they are spending more than ever, but if you account for inflation, schools only have as much as they did back in 2009 and the number of pupil's has risen.

Schools are basically having to actually take 700,000 more children with no extra money. Its the same for the 70's 80's 90's and 2000's, this amount hasn't changed so the biggest funding cut schools have seen for over 30 years and for head teachers this means making some really difficult choices.

Like letting some staff go and asking those who are left to do far more. You've got teachers driving a school bus, buying their own supplies and even cleaning the classroom after school. In some schools our curriculum is also getting narrower as things like music and drama classes and sports activities are being cut, others can't even afford basic science equipment.

I think that some people have felt forced into a corner because we're trying so hard to make an impossible situation not affect the children who are in our care, we need to be very clear with parents and the wider community about how much money is missing from schools. This is why so many heads have taken the unusual step of speaking out publicly about what they see is a funding crisis.

But some people say that schools can do more to cut the fat, there is some feeling within governments that actually the Department for Education and that schools in particular within that have been relatively well protected and that whilst of course times are tight on the face of it, eight percent cuts over eight years ought not to be impossible for any public service to manage to do.

One government Minister has even said even bet any head teacher a bottle of champagne that they can identify more savings, but head teachers paint a very different picture... there is no more fat to cut, the system is under huge strain! We not magicians you know, we are being expected to do more, with effectively, less money.

In order to try to it's not just about how much money schools get from the government but also how much support there is available from other children's services that are run by hard-up local councils so things like early intervention and Family Services youth services.  They've all been cut, by the end of 2019 20 by around 20% per child and in many cases they tell us that they have to pick up the pieces, as essential services are being cut. Schools are having to expand the care and support they offer, piling even more pressure onto teachers.

And it gets worse! Cuts to benefits means schools are having to cope with rising levels of extreme child poverty, heads are reporting that more children are showing up for school hungry. Some teachers are even washing children's clothes and helping to feed parents. We've had parents that have passed out in the in the school hall just through doing without meals themselves!

With the pressure mounting, teachers say morale is at an all-time low and their workload continues to rise. Many teachers are burning out and leaving the profession and who can blame them. But society needs teachers now more than ever, we need to be properly funded because we are frontline services.

Families, whatever is happening in society, homelessness, poverty, parents in the criminal justice system, all of these things affect schools you know. It's, it's not just about education, it's about the pastoral care, it's about the support that we have. There's only one outcome, we will end up with more children from poor backgrounds failed by schools that simply can't afford to give them the education and support they need, that's why we're seeing teachers, parents and people's getting so political.

 

 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/education