The Morning Star reports that in the wake of teachers’ union NUT publishing what the Conservative manifesto means for the budgets of individual schools, and with the mass resignation of 16 teachers at a school in Bristol, it’s easy to see that our education system is at a breaking point.
Primary schools, secondary schools and sixth forms alike have all been dealt a massive blow in funding, with my past secondary school alone facing a total budget loss of over £350,000 by 2021, which translates to a loss of £450 per pupil, and the departure of nine teachers. £51 million is set to be cut from school funding in Manchester as a whole by the same year.
In a post-recession economy (the fifth-largest in the world, mind), it is absurd that schools are being forced to hold fundraisers in order to buy basic equipment.
Underfunding, coupled with a high-intensity learning environment, means that more than ever before, our schools are at risk of becoming “exam factories,” to quote how the Confederation of British Industry responded to these proposed changes back in 2014.
What used to be a drive to ensure a high standard in our schools has now become a hideous race to the bottom in terms of mental health. Thanks to the reforms made by Gove, children as young as seven are sitting anxiety-inducing exams when they should be enjoying childhood.
You don’t need to consult an expert to conclude that exams are disillusioning us; you just need to ask a teacher or a student how they’re doing.
A survey of 3,500 teachers by the NUT in 2015 revealed that an astonishing 67 per cent of those asked said that their job had negatively affected their mental and/or physical health. Another 89 per cent of those asked cited their workloads as a major concern.
With 10,000 having left the profession over the course of 2010 to 2015, this is becoming a crisis like many others that we simply can’t afford to ignore.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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