How and why?
The Government is gradually integrating Children’s Centres into connected Primary Schools by ensuring that their budget and funding is now accessed through the school.
Children’s Centres are being more closely scrutinised with respect to their value for money! This ignored the value that they provide to the community which they serve AND their value to schools in terms of identifying and implementing support for children and families before they even enter nursery.
Therefore when the Government is ready, it can cut the umbilical cord with ease. This will mean that their are systems in place already which will allow schools to take over the Children’s Centres, as well as, the funding for the necessary refurbishment. After refurbishments the funding will cease on the grounds that it was originally Sure Start funding.
What does this mean?
No Children’s Centres means no expense to the Government.
No Children’s Centres means no service provision for families.
Access to Educational Physiologists (E.P.s)
Access to E.P.s is becoming harder and research has shown that serious conditions, such as, Autism are increasing. Logic tells us that we would need better, more frequent access to E.P.s rather than less!
Early Years teachers and support staff are expected to continue to teach in a ‘Care in the Community’ type classroom. This makes the curriculum harder to deliver because teaching AND managing behaviour which is common to children of that age, as well as, behaviours caused by special needs and serious conditions is impossible without the right type of support .
Using Ofsted to force state schools to become Academies.
Ofsted criteria has just changed. AGAIN! The goal post has been moved. What would have been deemed a good before is now going to be closer to satisfactory. What was satisfactory will now be classed as a failing school! What happens to failing schools? They are FORCED to become academies!
Previously, the Local Authority had support systems in place to help failing schools. However, they are currently in a position where they can offer little or no support so the forced change shouldn’t be too hard!
What will this mean?
The result will be that more schools will fail Ofsted and be forced to link with, and then become, an academy! This will of course is in the name of raising standards.
Which schools will be affected?
Secondary schools have been in the news for restructuring along academic lines e.g. running vocational courses alongside GCSE and A’ Levels.
Eventually the Government’s aspiration is for local businesses to invest in the vocational courses and employ school leavers directly. An example of this may be that schools near Heathrow are supplied with the ICT to train students to use systems, such as, Galileo and DCI. This will put students are in a position where they can leave and be employed with the skill set that the employer needs. A ready made workforce. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Students are employed quickly.
Students go from school to employment without gaps in between the two.
Students will be skilled at the onset.
Airlines save money in terms of recruiting, employing staff who are not trained to their requirements.
Government has no expenses in this area.
Those who lose out are the students.
They are trained for one job only.
They will have little room for manoeuvre elsewhere in the job market.
The employers, for these reasons, are at an advantage because employees are less likely to change their job no matter how poor the pay or conditions are.
What will it mean for us?
There will be more stakeholders. These will include the Government, parents, governors, employers and local businesses.
Under academy status teachers are no longer protected by the Government set Pay and Conditions. Thus Unions will have less clout in negotiations.
What is to stop academies changing the school year so that schools are operational ALL year? They could give permission for children to take their holidays during any 2 weeks of the year. This could be the same for teaching and support staff. The parents would be happy as their holiday child minding problems would be taken care of. Thus school staff will be required to work for longer hours. Academies have been known to force staff to run clubs after school and during lunch time.
What’s wrong with any of this?
The change is justified as all other industries get 2 weeks of holidays per year. Thus why should school staff get more? Little do they know that school staff are NOT paid during the holidays! They are paid for the days they works but the wages are paid on a monthly basis. Thus although they physically get a wage each month, it is not earned for any of the time which is not classed as teaching time.
With these changes in mind, there may be a token amount given initially to remunerate staff and soften the blow. However, eventually that will be absorbed in the salary. Also any increases in wages will be kept low so that over time, these increases will vanish over time.
But hey…we can make it up because we will then be working until we are 66 years old!