So today we have news that a think tank report claims that just under a fifth of school spending can be cut and make no difference to standards.
The Must Do Better report from Reform says there is no clear link between more spending and higher achievement – and calls for the lifting of the ring-fenced protection on school budgets.
This to me raises such a serious question – where is the connection between spending and attainment? As far as I can see there isn’t one, and there are multiple reasons why this report is false.
1) Not every school is of the same size. I have been training as a teacher for 3 years now and have worked in schools ranging in size between 150 and 700 pupils. If we cut the budget for spending, the smaller school will have even less money to spend on staff, which will mean that the school will inevitably be forced to close. The school is tight for money as it is.
2) School budgets have been on the decline constantly over the past few years as it is, meaning that schools are being expected to raise standards of pupils’ education on a very limited budget in a technology driven age, so where this report gets their 18% from is beyond my comprehension.
3) The final criticism was highlighted very well by Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. He states, “This report’s attempt to link funding and school achievement is fundamentally flawed as its simplistic approach totally fails to take into account the different contexts of schools.”
Moral of the story: If you want to make a bold claim, make sure you actually have a strong foundation before making it. This claim is completely unrealistic and shows just why education in my view should not be governed by politics.