This is a horror, isn’t it?

The National Audit Office calculates that by 2019-20, the education system will face cuts of 8% in real terms. That amounts to about £3bn in England – or the equivalent of £20,000 per pupil during their time in the classroom. Put that together with the new funding formula, which will see 9,000 schools face vast additional budget cuts, and secondary schools in England alone are heading for the steepest cuts to funding since the 1970s.

Last time I looked it up that would take real funding per head back to about 2005. So not all that much of an Unholy Terror then.

And as ever with Frances Ryan the terrors that come from such cuts turn out to be rather unterrifying:

Less than six miles from Downing Street and the office Theresa May is seeking to return to, primary school children have to clean their own classrooms. This week it was reported that pupils in the London borough of Wandsworth are now vacuuming at the end of the day because their school is so underfunded that it can’t afford to replace its cleaner, a story that illustrates not only the horror of today’s austerity but is a warning sign for the future.

It is a horror of austerity that pupils learn that things need to be cleaned?

When paper and electricity become luxuries, photocopying “caps” are the only option: one school in Bath apparently now allows only “one sheet per class per week”, and in a Peterborough school, they’re down to “one sheet of A4 per pupil”.

“At a time when year 11, 12 and 13 are desperate to attempt past papers as part of revision,” one teacher said, “we’re having to tell our poorest 16- to 18 year-olds to use their own paper-round and babysitting money to print off their own resources.”

And I call bollocks on that. Jeez, paper just ain’t expensive.

34 comments on “This is a horror, isn’t it?

  1. I do feel very sorry for such impoverished children. No paper ? Well, let them eat Sony Play stations and X Boxes.

    Or trade in their mega-sized TVs.

  2. Getting the kids to clean their classrooms is a great idea; but it’s just the first step. Schools need to take a leaf from universities’ books, and get older students to teach the younger ones.

    Probably not doable in primary school; but secondary school kids would be perfectly capable.

  3. And why do I suspect that ‘school in Wandsworth’ has enough money to support Earth Day, Black History Month, etc, etc…

  4. It’s not paper that’s expensive it’ll be a leased photocopier where the school is charged per copy that they will be seeking to reduce the use of.

  5. If the state is involved the number one expense will be bungling.

    Can’t afford paper?

    How much do the Ofstead clowns waste every year?

    Let the Purge be an economic reform as well as a political one.

  6. Perhaps lower the school leaving age to 16?
    We have employment so full that we’re employing foreigners by the million. No need to hide unemployment any more.

  7. “It’s not paper that’s expensive it’ll be a leased photocopier where the school is charged per copy that they will be seeking to reduce the use of.”

    Not only that they’ll be paying through the nose for it too. I guarantee that if anyone with experience of running their own business went through the average school expenditure they could cut it by 10% over night, and probably get better service/more goods to boot.

  8. “…pupils in the London borough of Wandsworth are now vacuuming at the end of the day because their school is so underfunded that it can’t afford to replace its cleaner, a story that illustrates not only the horror of today’s austerity…”

    Introducing pupil cleaning rotas into state schools would improve discipline and personal responsibility.

  9. “…anyone with experience of running their own business went through the average school expenditure they could cut it by 10% over night, and probably get better service/more goods to boot”

    Absolutely. Have these people never heard of zero-based budgeting?

  10. And I call bollocks on that. Jeez, paper just ain’t expensive.

    I can believe it, in the sense it’s something lefty teachers might do in the spirit of malicious compliance.

    And what JuliaM said. Like local councils and the NHS, they’re permanently on the verge of being unable to afford to do what we pay them to do, but always have ample funds for leftybollocks.

  11. The issue is that the schools still have ways of working that look like 1990. Everything is paper based. Nothing is digital /online /cloud based. They have G suite for free already but few use it.
    So paper, print cartridges etc is £25k pa. Almost a teacher worth of cost.
    My current projects are helping schools use technology they already have to go digital.

  12. “The issue is that the schools still have ways of working that look like 1990.”

    That would explain why they’re still leasing photocopiers in 2017.

  13. Sod that, I’m a proud alt-rightie and I’m not having my children cleaning classrooms.

    They come home too tired to go up the chimneys.

  14. Theo – Yarp. That’s the sort of passive-aggressive tactic that makes it possible for me to believe some of our teachers are now vindictively rationing paper.

    When I were a lad them teachers were always on strike, which was no doubt annoying to parents, but at least made for an honest, open, traditionally British dispute.

    Not sure what can be done about the modern teaching profession short of herding them all on to a rocketship bound for the Sun. Saboteurs are a lot harder to deal with than strikers.

  15. Here, from Junior High School on, students take lunch in the classroom. After lunch, they are required to tidy the room and stack dishes in the dishwasher. After school they are required to sweep and tidy the classroom.

    Learning to clean and tidy is regarded as essential education for teens. It seems to work. In my town there is no graffiti and almost no litter. As I write there are about 20 teens hanging out around the station, chatting and spooning. There won’t be any litter when they have left

  16. “get older students to teach the younger ones”: it’s always the case that the brighter teach the dimmer – it’s just that they get no recognition for their efforts.

  17. The Inimitable Steve,

    “Not sure what can be done about the modern teaching profession short of herding them all on to a rocketship bound for the Sun. Saboteurs are a lot harder to deal with than strikers.”

    I’m going to defend the teaching profession here. Many of my kids teachers are excellent, don’t talk politics, put in lots of hours.

    The problem is that you hear from the activist types. The Graun will always find those teachers, in the same way they’ll find people like Harry Leslie Smith and pretend he’s indicative of WW2 soldiers.

    And these are typically the worst teachers around. My mother was a teacher and had no time for these people. She’d complain how they’d put less effort into their appearance than the kids did. “So, how are they supposed to lead a class?”

  18. BiW – Yarp, no doubt. But how come they keep electing the worst possible people to represent them through the aptly named NUT and so on?

    It’s sort of like miners or firemen. We like miners and firemen, they do a productive job and most of them are good guys. But they keep voting for mongtastic trade union reps, which is why there’s not many miners round these parts anymore.

    Mebbe we should just ban public sector unions.

  19. “Learning to clean and tidy is regarded as essential education for teens.”

    At my 60s English boarding school, everyone had to do some daily cleaning. The juniors did the work, the seniors supervised. Corridors and rooms were swept, baths and showers cleaned, bogs brushed, beds made, and all done as fun – with ‘stars’ for performance. The system worked very well, and taught me self-reliance, team work and self-discipline. Moreover, we had games every day, except for Thursday when it was CCF. Today’s mollycoddled snowflakes would benefit hugely from doing such cleaning work. The idea that they would be too tired is risible.

    One thing, I often notice when renting out my properties is that many people in the 20-40 age group don’t know how to manage a home. One tenant complained that there was black mould in the bathroom. It turned out that he was not using the extractor fan or opening the window after showering. And he was a physics graduate, yet he had little idea how to live.

  20. Paper is not expensive.

    Unless you’re obliged to buy it from the only bidder for the printer paper contract for schools – a giant contract that clueless civil servants thought could leverage enormous economies of scale, but actually just herded them into the clutches of the only provider able and willing to spend £1million of staff time and compliance work filling in the 300-page “Printer Paper For Schools Initiative 2020” bid submission pack.

    Under THIS contract, each ream of paper costs the taxpayer £6,400 instead of £4.

    Later, it will emerge that the contract winner has ex-politicians on the Board.

  21. “But how come they keep electing the worst possible people to represent them through the aptly named NUT and so on?”

    Like McCluskey, with a 0.001% turnout on the vote. Most teachers don’t care what the Unions think,say or do.

  22. Theo, it was like that in the early 90’s when I spent a few years at a boarding school in Cambs. Once a week up at 5 to collect the milk and papers and walk them to the canteen and staff common room before breakfast. Or worse when a 6th former decides you were going to clean his football boots before breakfast and god forbid he finds a speck of mud on them. Room inspections after breakfast.

    I hear now they’re more like holiday camps.

  23. @ivor. Academies can buy from anyone. It’s the Local Authority controlled ones that you need to worry about.

  24. Academies can buy from anyone.

    Only one of the reasons Labour hate them so much.

    It’s the Local Authority controlled ones that you need to worry about.

    And that’s the main one. The concept that any aspect of society might escape the “Eye of Sauron” gaze and many-barbed whip of control of the deep state (nearly all of which votes Labour.

    I’ve had to bite my tongue numerous times over the past couple of weeks – frankly, I’ve had to stop being cynical about anything other than the competence of the IT department!) Roll on 9 June and I can go back to slandering* politicians, again.

    * Truth is no defence, as I understand it?

  25. One of the schools I was involved in didn’t like using the copier because it made the office too warm – don’t know how much paper was used directly for the children but the reports, letters, newsletters etc all added up to a lot of paper.
    That was a bit under £10k a year contract for a copier. The school had around 30 kids on site and admin oversight of another couple hundred still at their normal schools or on placement at specialist units.

    Don’t know about only one company applying for tender for contract – times I’ve done tender work there has been a minimum number of applications or else exercise redone (which is another waste of time and money…) – for council contracts it was either 3 or 4 minimum, for some of the larger ones that the group I was with was involved with, 6 plus was more common.
    Only once have I seen a tender run for minimum of 2, that was with a maximum number of 2 as well…. rather specialist and needed both groups bidding.

  26. The Inimitable Steve,

    Thing is, over the past couple of decades, the NUT have been sliding. They used to be overwhelmingly the biggest union in teaching. The NAS/UWT are now nearly as big.

    And as said above – lots of people don’t care. If you look at the people at the top of Girlguiding, they’re nothing like the people at the bottom.

  27. BiW

    NAS/UWT is little better than the NUT. Meanwhile, most non-leftist teachers head for rural areas, middle class cachements or the private sector, leaving the SWP with undue influence at many urban comps.

  28. DJ

    “I hear now they’re more like holiday camps.”

    Yes. But the performance monitoring regime is much tougher at independent schools. My daughter had daily meetings with her tutor. One late homework, one low test mark, and the tutor was on the blower. That sort of follow-up is not available from the many whining jobsworths in the state sector. And the independent sector still aims to build character, emphasising values such as self-control, reliance, team working, diligence, duty, responsibility, leadership etc. State schooling is largely value-neutral – apart from installing a multi-culti degenerate liberalism.

  29. Cleaning the classrooms? We did that back in the 1970s, and it’s standard practice in Japanese schools up to secondary level. I thought we were supposed to be admiring Asian school systems.

  30. How many teachers get sacked for incompetence? Fewer than are fired for sexual deviance, I bet.

    If we could fire more they might be more motivated. (Like Admiral Byng.)

    And where do they do their hard work? Not at school, that’s for sure.

  31. I do get annoyed when people complain about 30 year old classrooms. Parts of the school i went to date from the 13th century.

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