Just so much rhetoric has been written, said, masticated and repeated about the new funding formula for schools, the deprivation weighting for some demographics of pupils, the locational aspects of the overall pot schools will receive, but having read this article in the TES, (subscription needed, or just grab the magazine from the staffroom!), I feel that one key aspect may have been overlooked. And by the tone of Charlotte Santry’s article, so do others because I was unaware that the EEF had cost £125 million of government coffers in its creation, with one of its primary purposes to investigate the most cost efficient way of breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. And their grand findings seem to lean towards;
- Funding needs to be weighted towards the primary sector as this is where the greater impact can be had rather than trying to play catch up at the secondary level.
Thats right, no more bullet points, just a large obvious one, with their research showing that ‘intervening earlier on in a child’s life is the best way to close any attainment gaps that may exist’. Now whilst the weighting towards secondaries is all about ratios etc. I can’t help thinking that this most obvious point made by a £125 million governmental think tank could have been come to a lot quicker and cheaper, thus potentially redirecting a large proportion of cash into those areas that need it, namely the primary sector mentioned where intervention would narrow that gap (a phrase that makes me shiver!). Early intervention will alleviate the pressures felt by the secondary sector, making a more palatable workload and re-energising those staff floundering under the weight of ‘gap-closing’ expectations. With £384 million being withdrawn from school funding 😦 we need all we can get and all educators realise the importance of early intervention.
We give up lunchtimes, after school, Saturdays and even days in half terms to ensure that our pupils make the progress their hard work deserves, but equally we know that if intervention happens early, we wouldn’t have to. Those times could be used to increase pupils learning into that ‘mastery’ level, creating a greater depth of the love of learning.
How many more studies and Emperor New Clothes-like investigations paid for with money that could be used at the coal face will be commissioned before we can move forward? I remain hopeful that the creation of The Chartered College of Teaching will enable the combination of research from practicing teachers and key educational decisions to be united effectively.