There\’s an easy solution to this

Thousands of primary school children are being taught in supersized classes of more than 40 pupils, according to figures.

There are tens of thousands of qualified teachers (and I wouldn\’t be surprised at all if it were 100,000 or more) who already work for the education system but never actually do any educating.

They\’re sitting in the Local Education Authorities shuffling paper instead.

Abolish the LEAs and get the teachers we\’re already paying back in the classroom.


10 thoughts on “There\’s an easy solution to this”

  1. Eh?? Just over 100 LEAs in the country (one for each top tier local authority area). Like them or loathe them (and as a former school governor, never much rated them really), the idea that each of them is hiding on average 1000 (or even 100) qualified teachers on their books is bizarre.

    They may be a bit bureaucratic and inefficient, but most are rather stretched organisations full of junior administrators managing admissions forms, endless Special Educational Needs assessment requests and ever increasing student grant applications. Not much else.

    So not that simples I’m afraid. Might be better to look at the reasons pupil intakes in some areas have grown in recent years, and the huge sums being spent on the relatively new profession of teaching assistants, making it nearly twice as expensive in people and money terms to run a primary school classroom than it used to be (TAs didn’t exist in the old days, instead mums came in to help out for free) rather than engage in some sort of fantasy world where you only need to find out where the teachers are hidden.

  2. I was at “Junior School” in the late 1950s, class sizes averaged 40+ in the somewhat deprived area of the UK midlands where I lived.

    Yet, oddly, I don’t seem to recall any of my classmates reaching the age of 11 unable to read, write and do basic arithmetic.

    On the other hand, we knew toss-all about “our rights”, “the environment”, “climate change” etc., so I suppose that we were horribly cheated of a good education.

  3. How about this for a simpes solution:

    Any reasonable system of school vouchers would do away with the need for LEAs entirely. As eh???? notes this may or may not free up hundreds of thousands of teachers but it would mean a shedload more money reached the schools.

    With extra dosh and, more importantly, the freedom to make this sort of decision, the school governors could then decide whether to invest in extra teachers (and hence smaller class sizes) or a new swimming pool/staff room/ choccie bar dispensing machine/whatever.

  4. eh????, 150 LEAs, actually.

    Pogo, me too, in the North East.

    Abolish LEAs? It worked in New Zealand. They abolishes Education Boards and put each school under a panel of trustees elected by its parents. Schools were funded on the basis of their roll, and parents could take their children to any school they wished. 4,500 schools were converted to this system on the same day. Private school were included in the funding arrangements.

    (Details here.)

  5. Thanks, Ian Bennet, for the link.

    If a school system fails children by not being able to read/add up and thus make almost any form of valuable education beyond 11 inaccessible, then the school should be either fixed or “recycled”.

  6. Any reasonable system of school vouchers would do away with the need for LEAs entirely.

    In their current form, yes. If different schools wish to outsource some admin functions then this might be to what is currently the LEA. So no need to specifically abolish them – just change the funding to be bottom-up via vouchers, and let each school choose whether it subscribes to their LEA or not, or even if it wishes to contract to an LEA elsewhere. Those LEAs who add value will survive, even thrive, while those who don’t add value will wither and die.

  7. I went to Junior School in a very ‘nayce’ area of South London in the late 60s and my 4th form class topped out at 49 pupils.

    Wasn’t a problem for a teacher who could teach.



  8. I’m not sure there are quite that many useful teachers in the Council systems. However, there are absolutely loads of not-very-useful teaching assistants getting under real teacher’s feet in every Primary school in the country. OK, they’re very cheap, but I reckon most schools could sack enough of them to buy a couple of properly qualified staff if they had to.
    [Never had them in my day…mutter mutter…shuffles off for G&T]

  9. I am one of those teachers currently working in another area of Education. I design and operate the Data Management System for a School, for which I am paid only when the School is open (no pay outside term time, so say again all after “long holidays”) and although I still get to teach occasionally, I am not paid to do so and my salary is considerably less. I would dearly like to get back into the classroom but there appears to be a dislike in Education for mature entrants to teaching who are very much better qualified than many of the younger generation of teachers. (Since I also edit the reports before parents get them, don’t get me started on basic grammar…)
    Certainly, there is a growing army of “Teaching Assistants” too many of whom, in my experience, are of as much use as a brick parachute. There are good ones but they are very few indeed, the rest can be a liability in the classroom.

  10. Ed, what you describe is outsourcing. You don’t need a government agency to handle it though.

    If outsourced services benefit one or more schools you can bet someone, maybe even an enterprising former LEA employee, will be there to provide it. If the need doesn’t exist why the hell should the taxpayer still pay to keep the service available?

    Quite frankly, if there are people on the state payroll, in any way, shape or form, you can bet they will eventually reexert their evil influence. Better to fire the lot and let the entreprenurial ones set themselves up in business as far from the taxpayers’ chequebook as possible.

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