Despite being a relatively educated person, it’s fair to say that I don’t do politics.
It annoys me. Politicians annoy me. I don’t trust what they say and I don’t trust what the media say about them. The cynical part of me believes that half of them are in for the power and have no real understanding or empathy for the lives of us ordinary folk, even they pretend to have.
So, this post is going to be a little unusual for me because it is political.
This last few weeks, as a school leader, I’ve sat through countless meetings about money. We have a fantastic business manager who has been able to balance the books despite the financial pressures put on schools in the last few years. This year, things have been tougher than usual.
Do not be mistaken, funding for schools has been cut dramatically.
Schools up and down the country are searching for ways to save money and prevent redundancies. This invariably means that the extras go. Then the support goes. It means department budgets are cut – no new resources. It means that when a member of staff leaves, their work is given to already stressed and over worked staff as they are not replaced.
But, of course, we are expected to improve year in, year out.
Never mind that local authorities also have no money, so pupils with special educational needs are waiting longer and longer for support, if they even get it. Never mind that the Children and Adolescent Mental Health team in the NHS are so stretched that children in need can wait months to be seen and supported. But as schools are struggling financially, they’re now wondering how they can pay for the external counsellors brought in to help children while they wait.
The education system is a mess. And it is the government’s fault.
They make changes they don’t fully understand in a power play against the opposite party.
They have no understanding of the difficult lives so many children face and that their educational and supportive pathway may need to be different.
They have reduced and reduced and reduced school budgets and hailed academies a success purely due to money and nothing to do with pupils.
If it didn’t mean our children, the future, are suffering because of them, I’d call it a joke. But it isn’t funny.