Austerity

Time for a government U-turn over the UK’s shocking child poverty levels | Schools

If there is a consensus emerging from the awful coronavirus pandemic, it is this: it has shone a spotlight on child poverty and the damage it does to young lives. Politicians who voted for austerity measures – including the two-child cap on child benefit and the five-week delay to the first payment of universal credit – that cruelly punished disadvantaged children, have rediscovered a concern for those whose lives have been blighted by their actions. Where, I wonder, was their…

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Uncertainty over schools reopening takes huge toll on headteachers | Education

It has been an emotional week for primary school headteacher Kate Baptiste: “I have actually cried,” she says. She is scared that the government will announce today that schools will reopen next month – even though it could be dangerous to do so. “I’m used to making decisions that are rooted in what is best for the children. This is all out of my hands, and it’s terrifying.” The failure of the government to lay out its medical and scientific…

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Flawed thinking behind school isolation booths | Letters | Education

There would be an argument in favour of the use of isolation rooms or cubicles for troublesome young people in school if there was any evidence that they worked (Alarm as more schools use ‘degrading’ isolation booths, 18 January). In fact there appears to be no such evidence. The evidence that we do have is that teachers who use praised-based strategies to improve pupils’ behaviour in class experience far fewer disruptive incidents and hence less need to be punitive. Yes,…

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One in five teachers using own money for school supplies – report | Education

One in five teachers are spending their own money on classroom supplies, while nearly half say they buy food, clothes and even soap for poor pupils, according to a report charting the effects of austerity on schools. Among the more than 4,300 teachers who responded to the NASUWT education union, 20% said they paid for resources such as paper or books used in their lessons at least once a week, with half of those saying they did so “several times…

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Special needs children are being failed | Letters | Education

This is the most damning select committee report I’ve ever read (Children with special needs plunged into ‘nightmare of bureaucracy’, 23 October). Line after line, it shows that the education system for disabled children is completely broken. Parents are forced to become protesters, lawyers and bureaucrats to stand any sort of chance of getting the support their child is legally entitled to. The government now has a golden opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the system,…

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Families lose high court challenge over special needs funding | Education

Families who launched a landmark legal challenge to the government’s funding of services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) have lost their high court case. Three families, representing thousands of others across England, brought the action claiming that government budget decisions had left local authorities unable to fulfil their legal obligation to provide education to children with Send. A two-day hearing in June heard from lawyers representing the families that there was a substantial national shortfall in…

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Support for children with special educational needs ‘in crisis’ | Education

Services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are in crisis, with families experiencing delays of up to 90 weeks and complaints at record levels, according to the local government and social care ombudsman. Ombudsman Michael King said the number of complaints from frustrated parents had gone up by 45% over a two-year period to 2019. Most concerning, he said, was that nine out of 10 complaints (87%) were upheld in the families’ favour, with councils criticised for…

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Public anger over private schools | Letters | Education

The headmaster of Colfe’s School says he would welcome a debate about the role of independent schools within our education system (Letters, 18 June). The debate is simple. As long as rightwing governments continue to close state school playing fields, cut the education budget to below first-world standards and generally make life difficult for state schools, they will flounder. By contrast, the well-funded private schools will provide even more state-of-the-art facilities and more middle-class parents will bankrupt themselves in order…

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Schools in England to give extra lessons on dangers of knives | Education

Pupils in schools in England are to be given additional lessons before the summer holidays warning them of the dangers of carrying knives. Children at risk of knife crime are known to be vulnerable during the long summer break, especially if they have time on their hands and, with the schools shut, have no safe space. Campaigners say that, due to government cuts to youth services, there is also a shortage of activities for young people during the six-week holiday.…

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Scandalous increase in school exclusions | Letters | Education – Education Article

Last year I gave a paper based on my book Immoral Education: The Assault on Teachers’ Identities, Autonomy and Efficacy to academics in the Netherlands. When I told them that part of my argument was the rate at which young people were being excluded from schools and gave them the figures, the response was that “if that were happening here there would be national outrage”. The UK figures are now even worse (School exclusion rates in London double the national…

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