The decision to start charging for the running club at our wonderful primary school might not sound like a big deal – but it’s the thin end of a dangerous wedge. Writes Irena Barker, a writer and mother of three children in The Tes.
So there it was, laid out in black and white on the page: the school running club, the PDF file announced, would now cost £12 a term. Until now, it had been one of only a handful of free clubs.
I would never want to criticise the school – it is amazing – and I’m sure they have made some extremely hard choices lately. However, we can only blame the government and their relentless drive to present schools as profligate. Remember: education funding has never been higher, right?
Removing this important free club is just another step towards school budgets cuts making afterschool enrichment something purely for the middle classes to enjoy. The range of clubs is still impressive – and good value – but what is the point if only half the school can afford them?
Of course, many have bigger concerns about the effect of the cuts – axing teaching assistant posts, whole exam courses or access to proper pastoral care, for example. But I am concerned that the gradual erosion of the “small” things, may, in the long run, also have an extremely harmful effect on individuals, the atmosphere of schools and whole communities.
For example, what happens if school budget cuts result in the number of hours your school reception is manned being reduced and all communication being conducted with working parents through cold, faceless and efficient emails?
Of course, schools do need to rethink genuine waste – photocopying and PR budgets can almost always be reined in – but the small things that promote wellbeing or increase a sense of community are what hold schools together and build community goodwill.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!