I was astounded to read that a secondary school in Essex are due to subtract an hour of teaching time per week in order to save one hundred thousand pounds. In the words of my eighty-nine year old Grandmother – the mind boggles.
How is it that in 2017 school leaders are forced to make such difficult decisions in a bid to avoid having to make even harsher cuts to their already depleted budgets? Do leadership teams have to sit around meeting room tables and actually discuss the paper and photocopying budget in a desperate plea to save teacher jobs? As a teacher I know that there are far more productive and indeed exciting, innovative conversations to be had with regards to the planning for a new academic year in any school.
So, is slicing an hour a week from education the right call in this situation? Some may argue no and that young people are being robbed by a government who promise increasingly more but seemingly provide significantly less. Whilst others might suggest that yes, indeed in this situation the head teacher and management of the school in question were left with no alternative and have in turn possibly saved the government money as oppose to plunging another school into masses of debt.
Schools across the nation are battling the blunders of their budget in order to save jobs, tick boxes and keep their heads above water (literally, their heads). The pressure is immense and the thanks is lacking somewhat.
In this case, I do not envy the position of any human-being who feels that there is no other alternative than to reduce teaching time per week, monitor staff photocopying and employ a light-turner-offer to save the jobs of their staff. I think, in fact, I would quite like to work for someone who holds their staff in such high regard that they would rather give the normal amount of hours per week (still giving the pupils their right) yet also balancing the scales and saving staff…for now at least. I truly hope that these painstaking decisions have not been made in vain.