I admit it; I’m selfish. My biggest concern as I listened to George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review was not how large the debt interest payments would be or how many fighter planes the Ministry of Defence would be able to afford. I wanted to know what was going to happen to education.
As an ex-teacher I feel passionately that in order to prepare children for the future, we need to invest in education. Yes, some schools could be doing better than they are – but they aren’t going to improve without resources to help them to do so. Therefore I was pleased and relieved to hear that the cuts to the education budget aren’t as stringent as many had feared. The schools budget, which covers teachers and classroom equipment, will rise from £35billion to £39bn over the next four years – a marginal 0.1 per cent hike in real terms.There will also be a pupil premium for disadvantaged children, although it is not entirely clear where this money is going to come from. As an NASUWT teachers’ union representative said, trying to understand the implications of the new funding arrangements was like trying to “knit fog”.
As a parent of two children, one in primary school and one in secondary school, I have a vested interest in how much money is spent on education. Like all parents, I would like my children to be educated in small classes, by good teachers who really know and understand them, who can challenge them to do their very best and help them to develop essential skills and knowledge. I’d like my children’s schools to be able to afford the resources they need to make learning interesting and exciting.
As a school governor, I am cautiously optimistic to hear that the schools budget won’t be cut. The devil will be in the detail and the effect of the budget on individual schools is hard to predict. At least we aren’t looking at a budget cut of 20% as we had feared; that would have meant having to lose teachers.
Last but not least, as an independent publisher of educational resources for teachers, I was relieved that schools might still have a bit of money in their budgets to buy our resources. I think very few people are in educational publishing just for the money. Nonetheless, knowing that school budgets won’t be decimated will give us the courage to continue to develop new materials, which will be needed when the Coalition government gets round to announcing their plans for changes to the National Curriculum.
- Spending Review: schools budget protected (telegraph.co.uk)
- More money for schools but civil servants predict 40,000 teachers will go (guardian.co.uk)