Less and less it seems.
At the forefront are the Uni cuts – up to 80% and complete withdrawal of Art and Humanities funding and the government are proposing to give them free range to run as businesses with no fee capping, but it doesn’t stop there, does it?
My 5 year old son is currently receiving funding for a scheme called Dancing Bears, which amounts to extra focus on his reading and writing for 10 minutes a day as he doesn’t fall in to Special Needs. Those that know him know that he’s a bright kid and really he’s just more into using his imagination. We sit with a book and he makes his own wicked stories up from the pictures. His Head Teacher tried to talk to him about his literacy skills and asked what he wanted to be when he grew up . .
‘I want to be a Head Teacher’ he says.
‘Ah, well, you need to be able to read and write to do that’ she replies.
‘Oh’ he says, and pauses for a second. ‘I’ll be a builder then’.
The cost of this scheme is tiny, and in a couple of weeks he’s come on leaps and bounds and is now showing interest at home, though that might also have something to do with him now realizing that you even need to be able to read and write to be a just about anything. I already know that this scheme will be scrapped next year, along with a lot of much more important ones.
With an estimated £4.2 billion in cuts for universities and a £311 million pound cut to school services happening now, with more to be announced on Wednesday 20th October, the axe is gonna make a right proper mess when it falls.
A friend of mine, who currently works in the system, says:-
“Generally, although the headlines say schools’ budgets will be protected, services provided to schools will not due to Department of Education cuts. Meaning that if they want these services, which were previously provided to them, they will have to buy them in. Arguably, it is much cheaper for services to be provided in a coordinated way to schools rather than being bought in by schools on an adhoc basis, even if it was slimmed down with more targeted support being offered. There is also the knowledge and skills gap in schools around procurement which makes this option less cost effective.”
which basically means that extra stuff currently supplied to improve our children’s education will have to be bought as and when from their schools already stretched budget.
Although today’s news is stuffed with stories of this future threatening axe, it’s already been gaining momentum all summer with redundancies etc.
On the Department of Education website, there is a section called Participation, that apparently has the aim to help local authorities encourage 16 to 19 year olds to continue, or re-enter the education system. When I clicked on the link to Equality and Diversity, the department that’s ‘committed to developing policies that break down the barriers children may face because of their social background and those that people of all ages face because of their gender, race, religion or sexuality. This section contains information on what the Department is doing specifically to consider and address the needs of children and families who may be facing disadvantage related to their ethnicity or gender. Those involved in education can find here information, materials and links to external resources.‘ it simply stated ‘NO results found‘!!
And this has nothing to do with class?!
It is thought that some of the hardest areas to be hit in schools will be classroom support, including Special Needs Assistants, and the Connexions service who provide invaluable support to 13-19 year olds. I used to have a shop next door to our local branch and it was ALWAYS busy.
While my kids are lucky in as much as they attend a tiny village school, and their ‘two school years in one’ classes don’t hit the 30 mark, their teaching assistants play a massive role. Largely because of the doubling up but also because the special needs ratio here is quite high. With improved management due to a new Head, I’ve watched this tiny school flourish and turn right around since my eldest was there and to see that all undone would be tragic. Already they’re going bang at it to raise funds as they know what’s coming. Not just cuts, but being full on a roll of only 105 kids, it could, under the current government, face closure.
It has also been announced that Citizenship is to be wiped from the National Curriculum yet Religious Education stays??! How the fuck does that work??? A campaign to remove THAT from the curriculum may well be in order right now.
Anyway, the point is that if you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or yourself in the education system, which most of us will have, then these cuts directly affect YOU and YOURS and your support is needed. No, you don’t have to smash windows or fight with the police to make your voice heard.
All around the country on Wednesday 24th November at 11am, there is a National Walk Out against Cuts and Fees.
You can print flyers off here – http://anticuts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/walkout.pdf
Some folks will whine about how they’ve paid their fees so why would they want to miss a day, but it has been proven that if enough of us make a stand against something, the powers that be sit up and take notice.
So if you’re a student, walk out at 11, If you have kids at school, and you’re not at work, go get them. Print a few flyers off and hand them to other mums. Give your local paper a call. It doesn’t even matter if it’s just for an hour.
This isn’t about our future, it’s about theirs, so let’s make a stand eh? We’re all raindrops, and together we could make a big dirty puddle!
National Campaign against Fees and Cuts on Facebook