How John Terry Can Help Save Our School….
Right, so you’ve got your view of the Lake District, now to business. Having overcome the nonsense over Teaching Assistants last year, the latest wheeze from the DfE is to standardise School Funding based on a series of factors. The notion that all schools should be funded on a simplified, common basis is on the face of it entirely logical and worthy. However in reality applying a set formula across the board is bound to negatively impact certain schools, especially smaller schools in rural areas.
Remember the Few
Cumbria and Cornwall have the distinction of being two of the most beautiful counties in England, and also having the largest number of small rural schools. Often these primary schools are a focal point for the local community and provide a vital local service. The alternative is often a long bus journey to the nearest major town. How would you feel about putting your 4 year old on a bus to school on their own for 2 hours a day, especially when you don’t need to…
The new funding approach will be phased in over a number of years (2 at present) with a “minimum funding guarantee” protecting all schools from an impact of no more than 1.5% against their current budget. This “fudge factor” will be applied differently across the country in an attempt to soften the blow. No doubt in reality it may well mean costs increase in the short term.
What’s the alternative?
Well in the same way that any business looking for efficiencies and savings is best to start bottom up the same is true of schools. In many schools the cost base is largely fixed, with many services being imposed on them (payroll admin, internet services etc). Over the last few years the Government has been encouraging schools to take more responsibility for their own costs (which in its most extreme form leads you to an academy). Again a laudable aim but in reality how much purchasing power does a school of 50 or so kids have with a national utilities company or catering supplier? Answer – not as much as the collective buying power the LEA or even the government could provide. So for a start why not get some national/regional buying groups in place for standard utilities and services to help drive down costs. Also take a look at the existing budgets and see what else can be trimmed, if anything. At our local primary school the local community already funds around 13% of the budget through donations, with a further 10% coming from school meal sales and other sources. So the Local Council only funds around 77% of the cost of the school. This school doesn’t need it’s budget cut it needs it increased!
Any other great ideas?
Well here’s a random thought. What Chelsea Football Club (and yes I am a lifelong fan) pay the mighty John Terry in a week is enough to fund our school for a year (and have some change left over). There are 20 teams in the premier league, most with a squad of at least 25 front line players. That’s 500 people. If they each donated a week’s wages that’s a fair number of schools that could be funded properly. Extrapolate that out for bankers, politicians, comedians (Jimmy Carr could have a reason to stop avoiding tax), Media personalities, BBC news readers, et al and you could happily make a real difference. Alternatively the Government could get it’s act together and fund education properly – by looking at the real costs of each school and making sure the costs are met.
Personally of course I’m a big fan of the great JT funding our local school – it would certainly help our team’s performance….
Just a thought…