Schools and teachers are not to blame for social immobility, disadvantage and poverty. This is a grass roots social problem, so blame can really only be apportioned in one direction – towards the Government; past, present and future.
There is an implication here that schools and teachers carry a bias. Teachers want to teach and they want ALL their pupils to succeed regardless of their social status. The suggestion that they can and should ‘do more’ for those with less is insulting to the profession.
The government needs to cut the red tape, unify the system and support teachers better instead of always making them the scapegoats for problems which are totally unconnected to the classroom.
Unfortunately this is what can happen when you give these schools free reign with their budgets and accounting. The system for non academies where local authorities award funds after consultation creates checks and balances. That system is not perfect, but at least it is fair. In a local authority containing a mixture of academies and local authority run schools funding is not balanced, with academies getting greater sums of money. This system leads to the elitism that the original ethos of academies – to help struggling schools – was designed to prevent.
This story recently caught my eye (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18053619) about competition for state funding and a Government initiative to award £10,000 ‘pupil premium’ prize for schools that help pupils from poorer backgrounds.
I personally believe that competition for funding in a state run school system is completely divisive and likely to cause unrest within the teaching community.
I completely agree with Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, that ALL schools should be fully funded.
The Government needs to listen to representatives of the education sector. I think if the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers and the Deputy General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers fundamentally disagree with their policy then Government really ought to listen.
They understand education and the issues the sector faces and recognise the integral importance of a well rounded schooling for all pupils. Turning it into a competition will only exacerbate splits and divisions.