Many people have seen the infamous interview BBC’s Charlie Styat did with Minister of School Standards, Nick Gibb. Derek Peaple argues that schools are best placed to judge their own budgets.
An under-rated, in my humble opinion, Hull-based band from the mid-1980s.
If you look closely, you’ll probably recognise a young Norman Cook, later to re-invent himself as Fat-Boy Slim. After breaking up, some of the band went on to form the Beautiful South. Their ‘Song for Whoever’ – ‘I love you from the Bottom of my pencil case’ – offering an appropriate anthem for those of us who started their teaching careers in the late-80s.
The more I listen again, the more I hear a metaphor for our schools, and the challenges we currently face.
Whistling men in yellow vans
They came and drew us diagrams.
Showed us how it all worked out
And wrote it down in case of doubt.
A metaphor for increasingly distant and disconnected politicians and policy makers within the Department for Education who are failing to appreciate school culture and the unique relationships that are built over time with the local communities which we serve; relationships that are based on an intense, localised knowledge of that community and the families and dynamics which shape it.
Relationships, care and support that are now further jeopardised not just by an apparent unawareness of the day to day realities of running a school but also a now acute funding crisis. I won’t get involved in polemic. Colleagues have made the point far more eloquently than me in a variety of media over the last couple of weeks…
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/mar/08/its-dangerous-full-chaos-of-funding-cuts-in-englands-schools-revealed?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other But it was perhaps this interview by Charlie Stayt with Minister of State Nick Gibb on BBC Breakfast that best captures the combination of cultural disconnect and financial challenge that is becoming so damaging to to what we as school leaders strive to build…
We don’t need our scarce resources squandered on a cadre of centrally-appointed business consultants telling us how to spend them. We need adequate funding and the autonomy to spend it, subject of course to the accountability which must sit alongside responsibility for the use of public money, on the people and provision that we know will make the most difference to our children in the communities that we serve, and help to build.
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