The budget for education and schools is a far-reaching topic, coming under increased scrutiny over the past year, during political changes through the UK and Europe. Spending on education appears to steadily fall and The Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that spending is set to drop 6.5% by 2020.
Head teachers and school business managers continue to press the matter as many schools approach breaking point. The idea of 4 and a half day weeks have been proposed in recent months and increasing cuts could be devastating for the most at-risk schools.
What do the School Budget Cuts Actually Mean?
There are many, if not all, areas of education that are affected by slashing budgets and, ultimately, it will be the children that suffer the greatest if schools can not be managed effectively.
Schools struggle to replace teachers in many instances. If a member of staff is taken sick, schools could opt to simply split a class among other teachers. Choosing not to pay a temporary substitute is an obvious way to reduce spending, but it applies pressure to other teachers in swelling classrooms.
Class sizes are surging across UK as headteachers struggle to cope with toughest school spending cuts in decades…https://t.co/Z91lcTvism
— Calderdale Against School Cuts (@CalderdaleASC) April 3, 2017
Some subject teachers are going unreplaced when retirement occurs, especially for the ‘less important’ non-core subjects. Classes, such as music, are likely to suffer when schools can’t afford to pay a dedicated music teacher.
Schools are becoming relieved to see long-serving teachers retire. Experienced teachers command a higher pay bracket, as you would expect. Being able to employ a newly qualified teacher ‘NQT’ is much cheaper.
Facility quality is already suffering and building maintenance, in many instances, is poor. Schools battle to find the spare cash for major repairs.
Andy, who manages a school’s finances in the South East, told the Guardian “The school’s buildings have already been allowed to deteriorate”
“We need to find additional saving and there’s nowhere other than teaching to take it from”
Like copious businesses, the immediate way to reduce expenses is to decrease staff numbers. More and more ‘non-core’ staff are being removed from schools. Teaching assistants are at risk, along with special tuition and extra help teachers.
Less teaching aid compounds with swelling class numbers to apply straining pressure on teachers. Reports of schools asking volunteers to help out every day are not uncommon.
The Impact of School Cuts on Your Children
The particular issue of larger classes with fewer teachers and support staff will be the challenge for anyone to control them effectively. Poor discipline is highly likely to occur and struggling students who need some extra help could go under the radar.
Old resources make learning incredibly out-of-date, stopping teachers from providing modern, engaging lessons. Children learning from 20-year-old textbooks will certainly be using incorrect information, much has changed since 1997!
— Parent Hub (@ParentHub_UK) March 28, 2017
Special needs students are even more at risk. They may go unnoticed and, if the problems are picked up, there may be no specialist, experienced teachers to help the student’s learning difficulties.
NQTs replacing experienced teachers often produces lower results. Teaching is a profession and with that comes the need for years of practical experience to help children reach their potential.
Ultimately, children and teachers are suffering.