In a brief segment for Channel 4 News, the Head, appearing in a brightly lit science classroom, has underlined several of the dire consequences that many schools may soon have to face, after severe budget cuts were proposed in December. While it may well have been the longest the Head has spent in a classroom in the last 5 years, his remarks were clear and focused, with little of the filler that usually pervades his speech.
One of the more alarming points raised by the Head is the possibility that some schools may soon be unable to run five days a week. While there are numerous debates on just how much time in school students should be getting, it is extremely unfortunate that the question of "How much school can we afford?" must now be seriously considered by councils around the country. Furthermore, should schools cut back to a four day week, parents will then be confronted by the question of daytime childcare, a question to which the Government, it seems, has no answer.
The Head also stated that schools may "have to go beyond what has ever been accepted in terms of class size", which to anyone who is possessed by even the slightest twinge of an interest in the quality of education in this country is very disconcerting. Class sizes in the UK are already among the largest in Western Europe, and it is needless to say that the cuts are in this regard simply worsening an already souring situation.
A strange irony that we at the Trash are all too used to observing emerges in the Head's remarks as a whole, as well as in his comment that schools may soon be unable to provide the "breadth" of subjects they had "traditionally" been able to. On one level, it becomes apparent just how ridiculous it is that a Government which professes faith in British industry and 'British Business' is actively moving to make schools less capable of producing individuals who are well-rounded enough that they can compete in the modern world, and are instead more narrowly focused on the core subjects, but on another it is absurd to hear such remarks, as true as they may be, from a headteacher who has at shown a mixture of moderate disdain for and reckless apathy towards the Arts. We have made this clear on many occasions, and it is as fitting as ever. As a whole, it would be slightly less ironic if the Head's actions mirrored the concerns expressed in this interview, and less of the school budget was spent on useless crap like the meaningless saga of Rights Respecting awards, crude adverts in mediocre papers and on billboards, and tiny lockers that have yet to have been used.
[To see Channel 4's original report, click here.]
DISCLAIMER: This is a critical article, and so is comprised of the personal opinions of the author.