Rome wasn’t built in a day

Another week and another article appears in the national press about the huge projected rise in the number of people of school age. The current demands being placed on the education sector requires serious debate. A clear and focused plan surely must be put in place to address workload issues, increasing student numbers and the fact that spending per pupil in real terms is set to fall dramatically in the years ahead.

Bursting at the seams

Official figures have suggested that we’re in the process of a major population boom, with 730,000 more children of school age by 2020 than there were in classrooms last year. What will the impact be on schools and teacher workloads if the current situation doesn’t change? According to the Department for Education, they’re well aware of and are already addressing the problem. A spoke person said that ‘local authorities are creating thousands more places in the coming years, with 600,000 places created in the past five years’.

How many new schools?

There’s rising tension with recent media reports suggesting that hundreds of extra schools have to be built in England to cope with the growing population. Scape, an organisation which advises local authorities, says that 24,287 more classrooms are required. This equates to more than 2,000 new schools! What’s more, if we look at the current teacher-student ratio of 1 teacher for every 18 pupils, this means schools will need to find an additional 32,000 teachers. At a time when more highly skilled teachers are leaving the profession than ever before. Has the government really allocated enough money to meet the foretasted rise in pupil numbers?

Penny pinching

The current education budget stands at about £102 billion a year, but this has only seen marginal growth of 5% in the last 5 years. Schools and teachers are already having to go above and beyond the call of duty, carrying out their daily tasks within far tighter financial constraints. This money has to stretch across more than 24,288 state funded schools who admirably oversee the education of more than 8.56 million pupils every single year. Quite a feat!

Financially at least, the future looks bleak. With more than 1 million additional students due to enter the system over the next decade, schools are expected to have a £4.6 billion budget shortfall by 2019. This equates to an 8% real terms decline in spending per pupil. What’s more, these additional students will have to be taught somewhere, with those within the sector already commenting on the class size issue.

Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, not too long ago stated ‘there is a limit to how far existing schools can expand. Many are already using school halls, music rooms and gyms for classrooms and building over their playing fields to accommodate extra children. Children are being taught in Portakabins and increasingly large classes, and until the government tackles the lack of school places these problems will get worse’.

Is this really fair? Do you believe class sizes have a direct impact on the quality of education students receive and on overall their attainment?

Let us have your thoughts!

This whole debate might not be as trivial as it first appears on paper. The growing population is a major concern not only for the education system but the country as a whole. How do you think schools up and down the country are going to cope with the large rise in pupils? Is your school experiencing any challenges with current pupil numbers? Let us have your thoughts below. We can’t wait to read them!

One thought on “Rome wasn’t built in a day

  1. If only heads LEAs and schools weren’t forcing teachers out of classrooms at unprecedented rates through bullying in the workplace, unmanageable workloads, ridiculous practises and threatening their emotional, and physical health on a daily basis! The government denies a shortage of teachers, but anyone at the chalk face knows there are teachers resigning every term in the hundreds and this time they’re not moving schools they’re moving out of teaching! Again year on year less teachers start training and more and more do not make it through training, their NQT year and more than half quit in first 5 years! More and more inexperienced heads are taking on the role to the detriment of the profession! Poor leadership and management of schools and academies is rife! If they tackled all the problems within schools there would be no heads left! That’s why they don’t even attempt to deal with the bullying, health threats, work overload etc.
    A lack of school places is the least of the government’s problems! Schools are short of teachers now, many schools are run with half or more than half temporary or supply staff!
    With a guarantee of reduced workload and checks on bullying, well being, a decent pay rise the first in decades, maybe some of the tens of thousands of qualified and trained teachers who have left the profession over the decades may be tempted to come back! Doubtful because once you get out you never go back and no teacher would trust either the heads, government or policies, to stick to their word anyway as they lie and cheat people and manipulate on a daily basis, any promises would not be believed or ever delivered! Well done the government have destroyed education in this country and now we have to pick up the pieces and try and build an even bigger education system for the next generations when they’ve made such a disaster of the one we have! So very sad for the children who have to try and learn with teachers, many who cannot speak English, spell simple words and complete simple maths tests, when you are desperate you lower the Barr on who can train and become a teacher. No qualifications required to be a teacher now! People who barely scraped through secondary school are now teaching your children, badly!

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