Schools To Pay For City Screw Ups

It looks like education is going to have to pay for the great bankers’ bailout; it would appear that Ed Balls wants to cut spending on schools by two billion. I would have thought the massive subsidies to rich businesspeople to set up their own academies would be a good place to start, followed by the PFI scams, but no. Balls has a much “better” idea.

Apparantly the idea is to cut 3,000 senior posts – including heads and deputy heads. I strongly suspect a lot of people are nodding at that thought and thinking “yes, he can start with our senior management team”. This would be a mistake. I worked in local government during the cut-backs of the 80s and 90s and know from experience that the first cuts will not be the last. Balls might start with your SMT but he’ll work his way down to you eventually.

I have heard a number of school staff commenting how the admin of schools has grown since they started work. What many forget is that until not so long ago, schools were run by the local education authority (usually the Education Committee of the local Council). When administration of schools was devolved to the schools, many of the admin jobs that were done at the Town Hall were now done in the schools themselves – hence the increase in admin staff.

You might think your SMT is a bit remote and does not know what really goes on but would a “Superhead” running several schools be any better? Of course, the logical conclusion of all this would be to group large numbers of schools together and have one admin team run them all. We could call the person in charge of that team the “Schools Officer”. Of course, the governors of the individual schools will have lost a lot of their functions but it might still be considered desirable to have some sort of accountability. The Schools Officer would have to be accountable to the local authority…

This is the problem with revolutions, in public service or elsewhere. You go round in a damned big circle and finish up back where you started.

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