Cuts and closures

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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Councillor’s ‘oven-ready’ scheme to force private schools to pay their bit | Education

When councillor Libby Lisgo visits one of the most deprived estates in Taunton, in her ward of Priorswood, she can see the fence of Taunton school, one of the area’s famous independent schools. “While we are struggling to raise funds to take local residents on rare day trips, I can see a fleet of minibuses on the other side of that fence, sitting idle,” she says. “And I can’t help thinking: ‘Gosh, if only we could access those from time…

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Headteacher Judy Shaw: ‘My staff are fantastic but they can’t fight poverty’ | Education

On Judy Shaw’s first day as a headteacher, a man came to show her one of the school’s vast brick walls. She recalls: “He said, ‘Is that pointing all right for you then?’ and I stood there and I thought, this job is not what I thought it was going to be.” But 14 years later Shaw is still headteacher of Tuel Lane infant school in Sowerby Bridge, a town nestled along the River Calder in West Yorkshire. In that…

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‘Many of our children don’t get presents’: schools open over Christmas for families with nothing | Education

Sammy will wake up on Christmas morning with little hope of a visit from Santa. He didn’t get a present last Christmas and it is unlikely he will get one this year, because his mother struggles just to put food on the table. But it is not all gloom for the lively eight-year-old. Next Monday, 23 December, his school will reopen and the teachers and support staff will return, unpaid, to organise a huge “Christmas Eve Eve” party for the…

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‘It hasn’t been easy being a Tory in education’: meet the teachers standing for election | Education

Mark Lehain, 41 Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for Newcastle-upon-Tyne North (Labour majority 10,349) “It’s not been easy being a Tory in education over the last few years,” says Lehain, a former maths teacher, with a sigh. A torchbearer for the Conservatives’ academy and free school policy, he founded and led one of the first free secondary schools – the Bedford free school – then left to head up PTE, the Parents and Teachers for Excellence group, which campaigns for…

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‘It’s dangerous’: full chaos of funding cuts in England’s schools revealed | Education

The impact of the funding crisis in England’s schools is laid bare in a Guardian investigation that reveals a system falling apart at the seams, with teachers covering for canteen staff and cleaners while essential funds are raised by parent donations and “charity” non-uniform days. Teachers and parents who responded to a Guardian callout complained there was not enough money even for basics such as textbooks, stationery and science equipment. They say children with special educational needs (SEN) are the…

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‘I will never return to teach in England’: the UK teachers finding refuge abroad | Education

The English education system is broken, says Freya Odell, a state secondary school teacher with 18 years’ experience. This month, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of other talented, fed-up teachers and moved abroad – in her case, to St George’s British International School in Rome. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. My job in England took over my life. Over the past year, I had stopped laughing and smiling. I had lost all sense of who I am.” Despite…

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Just imagine if your school had seen a 5% annual funding rise since 2010, like the Labour years | Fiona Millar | Education

Sick of the slogan, Get Brexit Done? The new Conservative party mantra will almost certainly infuriate or seduce, depending on your view about the EU referendum. It may also be time-limited, depending of the outcome of the next few weeks. The strapline, however, Invest in our hospitals, schools and police, is designed to live on into a fantasy post-Brexit world, where the Conservatives are reborn as the party of public spending and commitment to public services. So, let’s get real.…

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Families protest outside school over early Friday closures | Education

Dozens of families have protested outside a school in Greater Manchester that is planning to close early on Fridays because it cannot afford to educate its pupils. The final straw came for parents after Vale View primary school in Reddish, Stockport, announced last week that nine staff members, including some of the most experienced teachers, were being made redundant and that the headteacher was leaving. Parents and schoolchildren held banners and wore badges reading “Save our teachers” outside the school…

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Pupils with special educational needs to stage funding protests | Education

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are to stage protests across England over funding cuts they say have left many pupils without adequate support and unable to attend school. Parents, disabled children and their supporters will march in more than 25 locations on Thursday, including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Widnes, Worthing, Stevenage, Leamington Spa, Matlock, Colchester and Dorchester. It is part of a campaign by families whose struggle to secure the support their children…

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