Most the time I try to be optimistic. Today I can’t be bothered with that. Today I will rant. I Feel we really need to shout about the funding problem before its too late.
Having been a head for three years I think I am finally getting a grasp of finances. Year on year we have just about made ends meet. We have cut things, we have made ‘efficiencies’ (This is the DfE’s favourite word this week). We have just about kept ourselves solvent.
Each year the challenge becomes harder. Costs in the last three years have gone up and up. My school building is 60 years old, it was due to be updated in 2010, then all that was cancelled by the change in government. It leaks, it leaks a lot. I have had to increase class size our average is now 29 but in some they are well above 30. While I try desperately hard to reduce workload, there is only so much you can do when a teacher has a class that size.
What frustrates, isn’t the challenges, it’s the downright denial that they exist.
WHAT FUNDING CRISIS?
I received a letter from my MP. In the letter he claimed the issues were union scare-mongering. My first thoughts were that at least he wrote back. However it turns out he did no such thing. After I posted my letter on twitter people from all over the country have let me know that they got exactly the same letter just signed by a different MP depending on where they are. Please come and find out, come and talk to us first hand.
I would suggest he sit in my budget meetings and look at the tough discussions we are having, the hard choices we are making, just to make ends meet. The idea that funding has been protected is disingenuous, anybody who says differently is unclear of the realities or just ignorant. To try to fob people off is wrong.
I would love him to come and visit my leaky school, my increasingly worn out staff, my high needs children who receive no funding (because getting an Educational Healthcare Plan is almost impossible in our area for EYFS age children especially if their parents aren’t pushy), my increasingly bare stock cupboard, my ageing ICT equipment, my broken storage, my ageing playground equipment (some of it was condemned last year), my paint peeling walls with frighteningly big cracks in them and my rusty benches. I’ve not even talked about the damp, or the windows, or the roof, don’t start me on the roof.
Each year the costs are more, national insurance, pension contributions let alone access to services which three years ago were part of the offer and are now brokered to schools at significant cost such as support from an educational psychologist.
So please don’t tell me there is no funding crisis. Please actually get out and into some of the schools in your constituency. Please come and speak to the headteachers juggling it everyday. Please put the needs of the children above your political dogma. It may not be a full on crisis yet, but it is unsustainable in its current trajectory.
I would love to ask him whether he would send his children here. That’s a bad question, of course he would, our school is awesome.
Actually I would just love him to visit so I could discuss the challenges face to face.