Betsy Maytham

Product Development Manager

  • Experienced teacher and trainer
  • Specialises in writing outstanding model texts and poetry, and designing resources to support teachers in their classrooms

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The Importance of Being Earned: in the aftermath of budget cuts, what aspects of school life have the right to be priorities?

Schools in England are facing budget cuts. However the news of the new funding formula is spun, the simple fact of the matter is that many schools will receive less money per pupil. Demands and pressures on headteachers, leaders and classroom teachers have never been greater. At the same time as increasing the teaching and learning expectations, the powers that be are decreasing our resources with which to be able to meet those expectations. The rights and wrongs and long-term consequences of this decision are not for us to speculate about here and now. It is what it is. The question we are asking is: how do we deal with the situation as it stands? It’s tempting to feel powerless. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees (especially now it’s made from plastic!) and we can’t magic more out of thin air. So how do we choose what to spend our precious pennies on?

To refer you back to the title of this piece, my answer is: has the aspect of school life you are considering spending money on earned its place amongst your priorities? What has it done to earn its place? How do you calculate its usefulness and necessity? Ask yourself the following questions, when opening your school’s purse strings:

  • What will be the benefit of this to my pupils?
  • What will be the benefit of this to my staff?
  • How will this help me achieve my long-term School Development Plan goals?
  • How will this improve results?

Perhaps the most obvious answer, in this sort of situation, is to say: spend less by buying less. Buy less paper. Recruit cheaper staff. Teach fewer subjects, so you don’t need so many resources or specialists. However, the quickest and most obvious answer, in these situations, is not always the best. It’s not necessarily about buying less, but about buying more wisely. Consider how much you spend on IT support. Would it be cheaper to upgrade the computer that is causing you to call out an IT company every other week? Consider how much you spend on new exercise books. Would it be cheaper to combine certain subjects and implement a topic-based approach to teaching? Consider ways to exploit economies of scale. Can you collaborate with other schools on CPD training or consultancy? In making these decisions with a view always to improving the welfare of children, staff and the school in general, you will avoid the slippery slope of Cuts, with that all-important capital letter, which generally means cutting services, cutting support and cutting success. Instead, you will find yourself with a slimline budget that focuses on the essentials - the success and well-being of everyone in your school.

You will note that I mentioned CPD training in the previous paragraph. As a TT Education consultant, naturally it can be assumed that I may have a vested interest in this! However, at TT Education, we are always guided by our moral purpose: to support teachers to provide the very best educational experiences for all children. We strongly believe that high-quality CPD is the best way to do this, and given the budget constraints schools are facing, we will be as flexible and accommodating as we can possibly be to help everyone we work with to feel that they are receiving the very best value for money.

In response to the new funding formula, we’ve introduced some new packages of high-quality training solutions that will save schools money on Continuing Professional Development. Have a look at our new SLA approach to school support.