Monday 14 November 2016

Action on school funding and staffing crisis needs your support

Slide from presentation at Brent governors' meeting with Brent senior officers
 Brent schools, which out-perform other schools nationally, are going to have to fight to maintain their position in the future as a result of cuts to their budgets and a crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers and senior staff including headteachers.

Although changes to the national funding formula have been delayed, the eventual changes will be to the detriment of urban areas, unless the whole national education budget is increased. This seems unlikely as there is zero growth at the moment which means a cut in real terms as funding does not make up for rises in national insurance payments, pension contributions, price inflation and an increase in pupil numbers.  Increasingly schools have to 'buy in' services that were previously supplied by the council.

The crisis in recruitment and retention is due to  number of factors of which the main ones are the constant changes in curriculum and assessment introduced by the government and the high cost of housing in London LINK. The latter means that when young teachers start a family they have to move out of London to find an affordable place to live.

One way Brent Council could tackle this is by planning more affordable social housing for key workers such as teachers and national health workers.

School governing bodies are finding it very difficult to recruit headteachers in the present climate as the job becomes harder as a result of high stakes expectations from Ofsted and the government. Primary schools have expanded in size as a result of the government not allowing local authorities to build new schools where they are needed.  Managing a large school is more akin to being a chief executive of a large organisation and many prospective heads see this as moving away from the 'leading educator' role that was their impetus to join the profession.

Most Brent primary schools have remained with the local authority rather than be tempted by the false delights of academisation but that means Brent Council has a job to do in championing its own schools as well as trying to positively change the context in which they work.  This was the subject of a recent motion at Brent Central Labour Party.

On Tuesday the London NUT will be holding a march and lobby on these issues and more and would welcome parents, carers and others concerned to join them.Assemble for March: 17:00, Whitehall, (Opposite Downing Street) Rally: 18:30, Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, SW1P 3DW

If you are interested in how your school will be impacted by cuts, which usually hit teaching assistants first, type the name of the school into the map below. Teacher assistants play a vital part in the progress of London primary school children and these days are often trained to teach small groups of children in intervention projects, enabling them to catch up with their peers. They are under-paid and sometimes under-valued. Nevertheless, they are a vital ingredient of Brent's success story.

1 comment:

L Green said...

I could not get the school cuts checker above to work. Is it possible to post it again?