School leaders march to head off disaster

Head teachers are, by and large, a sensible lot, aren't they?

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 4:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 4:43 pm
How deep is the crisis in our schools?

Of course they will stand up for their school because they have pride in the pupils, the staff and the community they serve.

So when head teachers organise a march on Downing Street, we should sit up and take notice and ask why.

We accept that schools will always want more resources, smaller class sizes, better teaching and learning spaces etc.

But something fundamental is going wrong right now and head teachers are right to call it out. I have been involved in schools for a long time and yes, there were very difficult times in the 1980s and 90s when budgets were very tight and we could hardly mend the roofs, but in general since then the situation was much improved.

Not so now! Let’s not trade statistics, but just look at reality.

Class sizes are going up, numbers of support staff are going down, experienced teachers are leaving, fewer of them want to become heads and budgets are now precarious, going on dire, and looming ahead is a disaster.

Three-year budget forecasts see leaders having to make not just difficult but very detrimental decisions for their pupils and staff.

There is no cover for inflation, pensions and pay increases and costs such as utilities and others are rising much faster than inflation. This is why we should all support the heads in their demand that all schools are funded properly and fairly.

Peter Gruen

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