Rubbing salt in the wounds

Rubbing salt in the wounds of the teaching profession is conceived from a random mixt of inputs. The Financial Sustainability of Schools Inquiry,” midweek reports that schools have slashed CPD budgets, an Ofsted presentation “Growing great schools: what has the most impact? a long drive home from Canons Park TSA yesterday “Working with Complexity in School Leadership and a pithy quote regularly aired via social media.

Taking each of these in sequence;

The DfE continues to report two delusive financial statements, that the overall schools budget is “protected in real terms,” that the government has increased the schools budget by 7.7% from £39.6 billion in 2015-16 to £42.6 billion in 2019-20.

Thanks to our investment in school funding, which at more than £40bn in 2016-17 is at its highest level on record, we are giving all schools access to the resources they need. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38827188)

As we know, as reported, taking into account pupil number rises of 3.9% (174,000) in primary schools and 10.3% (284,000) in secondary schools and inflation, funding per pupil will, on average, rise only from £5,447 in 2015-16 to £5,519 in 2019-20. A real-terms reduction.

You could hardly expect the DfE to report

We expect mainstream schools will have to find savings of £3.0 billion (8.0%) by 2019-20 to counteract cumulative cost pressures, such as pay rises and higher employer contributions to national insurance and the teachers’ pension scheme.

Ironically, the National Audit Office also reports that, with regards to publishing advice and guidance for schools, DfE has made “made progress in some areas,” clearly not better than expected.

Towards the end of the week we hear from national and education press outlets that schools are wiping out their professional development budgets at a time that teaching staff are still managing monumential curriculum,exam and assessment change and need that input demanded from the Department of Education. It is my professional and personal experience, that access to professional development, is a key ingredient of meaningful “employee recognition,” essential to the success of any organisation. Not overlooking that 78% of employees report that being recognised motivate them in their job (WorkforceGrowth Report, 2012). Retention favour is undoubtedly being yet further bruised with prospective teachers hardly encouraged.

Next followed the Ofsted presentation from which I taken these Monthy Pythonian statements unintentional adding salt to the open wounds of a stagnating profession.

In the schools that were found to have improved, there was a very clear pattern of improved teaching because leaders had focused on continuous bespoke professional development. (Annual Report 2015/16: Secondary school improvement.)

In the schools that were found to have improved, there was a very clear pattern of improved teaching because leaders had focused on continuous bespoke professional development.

Leaving Headteachers with a Scylla and Charybdis dilemma, deficit or stagnation. Teachers (in which I include leaders) up and down the country have been feeding these monsters, now the cupboards are bare. CPD saturdays (#TLT – saturday, Pedagoo Hull, Hampshire, Fife, Perth, Worc all Saturday, SLTCamps – weekend, #teacher5aday events – saturdays, Teachmeets – various evenings) Complexity in Leadership, are not the healthy work-life-balance  answer. In what other profession do you see self-organised professional development on Saturdays?

The final input was this Henry Ford quote.

It left me reflecting. Schools are being contrained from investing in professional development, investing in the single most significant expenditure (typically 78% Primary and 79% Secondary DfE 2013) to which Ofsted unthoughtfully reminded us, underpins school improvement.

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