Sunday, September 20, 2009

Education, education, education – cut, cut, cut.

The Prime Minister conceded at the TUC conference that the recession meant he would have to ‘cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets’. And now his ministers are putting flesh on the bones, or rather identifying where they will unleash the necrotising fasciitis to remove some flesh from the bones.

And it transpires that more than £2 billion will be cut from the schools budget.

£2 billion?

With 22,337 state schools in England, this represents a cut of £90,000 per school – roughly equivalent to three teachers or £275 per pupil.

Since there is an assurance that ‘front-line’ services (whatever they are) will be protected, Ed Balls wishes to axe up to 3,000 senior school staff, including headteachers and deputies. He is using the budget crisis to force schools into federations – multiple schools run by a single team under a ‘Super Head’ – which are presently merged only to assist underperforming schools.

The enforced federation of successful schools is a back-door strategy to achieve universal comprehensive education. When headteachers of grammar schools become ‘Super Heads’ and lead secondary moderns and other schools in their area, there can be no denying that the result is a monolithic structure for the provision of comprehensive education under a single director. Over time, courses at one school will be offered to pupils at another, and mixed-ability teaching will become the norm in order to sustain a viable pupil-teacher ratio.

But what does the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families think these manifestly dispensable senior school staff do?

Does he not realise that their interminable days are occupied dealing with ‘initiatives’ from his department for literacy, numeracy, ICT, inclusion, the Gifted and Talented, Work Related Learning, Every Child Matters, Extended Schools, Specialist Schools, workforce remodelling, changes to curricula, qualifications, inspections and buildings?

And all of these programmes have only succeeded in breeding a culture of mind-numbing, box-ticking mediocrity. Schools do not now so much inspire learners to a genuine life-long love of intellectual discourse; they produce citizens who are able to regurgitate bite-sized snippets of pro-forma answers which subscribe to the state-decreed orthodoxy.

And some leave school without even the ability to do that.

Many teachers are profoundly disillusioned with the extent of the Government’s failure. And it is not only teachers who have had their eyes opened to the vapid emptiness of Labour’s perpetual boast that it has revolutionized provision and raised standards. The OECD have shown that British pupils have a poorer grasp of literacy and numeracy than most other children across the developed world. Their report reveals that in the past six years, the United Kingdom has fallen from eighth to 24th place in the international league table for maths, with British 15-yearolds said to be ‘below average’ in comparison with their peers in other countries.

When it comes to education, the choice is now clear: it is between Labour cuts and Tory reform and investment.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Steve said...

Surely thatn amount can be saved from the education budget simply by axing LEAs?

they take something like 25% of the budget even before it reaches the schools and for what?

20 September 2009 at 12:20  
Blogger Richard said...

You are forgetting how much investment in education has increased under Labour. According to the Bow Group, investment in education has increased by 75% since 1997. This is a increase from under £3000 per pupil in 1997 to to £5120 in 2009. Compared to that, your cut of £275 is insignificant.

20 September 2009 at 12:57  
Blogger Dave H said...

Ahh... good old 'investment'.

To Labour supporters, levels of investment are synonymous with levels of achievement.

Trouble is, for 12 years they've been investing it up a wall.

20 September 2009 at 13:40  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

I think that the only way to revolutionise the education system in England is for the whole socialist enterprise to collapse into an irretrievable pile of rubble. There are so many socialists in the education industry that anything short of a catastrophe will enable them to recover and regroup.
It will be extremely unpleasant for those who are on the receiving end of the 'system' but I can't see what else will purge them from the educational intestine.
The tactic if President Reagan, successfully practised on the US air traffic controllers, is a model to be used here. Sack everyone and just rehire those who can demonstrate they want to and are capable of doing the job of educating our youth and our future.
Get rid of the socialists once and for all.

20 September 2009 at 14:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yopur Grace is casdly correct on educational standards in the Blighted Isles.
I wonder how many readers are aware of the growing number of children entering secondary school as functionally illiterate? I see this every year in the secondary school where I work.
Twelve years of Labour, and the educational divisions are as wide as ever.

20 September 2009 at 15:14  
Blogger Don't Call Me Dave said...

casdly?

20 September 2009 at 15:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Your Grace is sadly correct ..'
Apologies for my functional illiteracy.

20 September 2009 at 17:40  
Anonymous not a machine said...

A mere three montsh ago Ed balls stood at the dispatch box and pointed the cuts finger across the floor , the nasty tories the unrealistic lib dems "labour would increase spending in education"

Well they have increased spending , but not it seems on education but on debt.

Its no good the tories crowing that it makes it easier , I can see they might think its a sort of relief , but what no one seems to have picked up (although ed was vauge) he was on about pensioning off the old heads and deputy heads , federalising making super schools , my God there are already doubts that large schools just increase the levels of anti social behaviour , as its such an important drug market or fakes copies market , given things like blue tooth , they are soon sharing latest embarrasing clip or fearfull one .

Ed Balls is being careless and hes inviting other parties to be as dim as him , I sensed it was an almost pannick annoucement. No debate no hearing of his plan, this conducting policy through the media is misleading , fake even.

He has been in this job for over two years and suddenly there is £2bn availiable , by sacking staff , whats he going to do burn out the heads and deputy heads left behind ,plonk the kids infront online socialist propoganda via a net interface .

I am astonished whilst westminster village was busily enjoying and pondering why he said it , many of us looking at eduaction are infuriated , where has all the money gone !

labour are wrong wrong wrong , i think they are just keeping more in higher education to keep them off the job stats , in other words he is pulling the wool over our eyes on why he is going to target primary and secondary education , which is far from in a good position after the labour years .

I think we are being taken for fools again , the liberals are aiding and abetting him as well by just talking about tution fees .

What hes said today is a disgrace , a lie and an insult !

21 September 2009 at 00:48  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, This is merely NuLab finishing off the job it began. When Phoney Tony first uttered his most famous soundbite - education, education, education - he wasn't making a promise to improve quality he was announcing how he was going to kick off his social engineering rampage.

Cameron isn't much better. He seems hell bent on pursuing the comprehensive experiment to its bitter end. The one size fits all policy is handicapping intelligent kids across the board. Unless parents can afford private education kids are FUBARed from the outset by a system cynically designed to fail them.

The sooner idiotic, political pygmies like Cameron learn that people aren't intellectually equal, the better. If you truly want a system that produces results you cater to ability, not egalitarianism.

In short, bring back technology colleges, commercial schools, secondary moderns and grammar schools!

21 September 2009 at 07:49  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'The enforced federation of successful schools is a back-door strategy to achieve universal comprehensive education. When headteachers of grammar schools become ‘Super Heads’ and lead secondary moderns and other schools in their area, there can be no denying that the result is a monolithic structure for the provision of comprehensive education under a single director. Over time, courses at one school will be offered to pupils at another, and mixed-ability teaching will become the norm in order to sustain a viable pupil-teacher ratio.'

Excellent analysis!

21 September 2009 at 09:33  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Ideally, education should be taken out of the political arena completely. Politicians of any one party, hell-bent on pushing one ideology or another, should not be the ones determining what is taught or how it is taught. The level of political interference and micro-management since the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988 has grown year on year and has become intolerable under Balls. This is what Hitler did and what Stalin did - ideologise schools to produce doublegoodthink pupils (apologies to Orwell). Having said all of that, schools are funded through the public purse, and there needs to be some sort of accountability. This is the dilemma - public money means politicans... politicans see schools as a means of furthering their social and equalities agenda so we are back to square one.

So Your Grace, can we call on a little divine inspiration to untie this Gordian Knot?

21 September 2009 at 09:41  
Blogger Miss Snuffleupagus said...

I don't think cutting the education budget is necessarily the problem. But the idea of just getting rid of Heads and Deputies is absurd. Only people who have no idea how schools work would even think of such a thing. They are all mad - so mad, I don't even know what to say.

How do we live in a society where utter idiots are running everything!!?

21 September 2009 at 19:55  
Anonymous ad said...

I fear the problem will be that cutting wisely - like doing anything wisely - requires time for thought and planning. By the time the next government is in power, they will have little time left.

21 September 2009 at 22:11  
Anonymous The Bishop Swine said...

Gnostic like a fool said:

"In short, bring back technology colleges, commercial schools, secondary moderns and grammar schools!"

Over my dead body, at least the Secondary moderns. What a dishonest way to rob sometimes very bright children that was. I expect you will say something stupid like 13+, will catch the inevitable borderline cases. Even when it did, the damage had already been done. We should raise the standard of our current schools to that of the grammar schools, but not by buying into the discredited irresponsible mistakes of a previous generation. In short no more sub-standard schools aimed at robbing children of opportunity at 11 yrs of age.

22 September 2009 at 10:53  
Anonymous len said...

After the expenses scandal the thought of these overpaıd underachıevıng mınısters cuttıng back on educatıon ( and anythıng whıch does not ımmedıately affect theır own lavısh lıfestyles)ıs quıte frankly appallıng.

30 September 2009 at 20:07  

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