Cast your mind back to the 19th April this year. A difficult and somewhat unpleasant task I know, many of us would rather not look back and face the stark reality of just how long this situation has been occurring for. On this date the DFE announced ‘Laptops for the disadvantaged’. Looking backwards is really the only direction to turn in if you want to see them, as they are conspicuously absent from the present and it’s unclear whether they’ll ever make it into the future.
Cast your mind back a bit further, this time to Sept 2017, and the fairer funding formula review. A reformation, long overdue, that was designed to address the geographical disparities in funding and replace it instead with a formula that took account of the context and characteristics of the school. Paralysed and conveniently distracted by Brexit (nice one Mr Cameron), as of yet this is still yet to be fully implemented; a cap on percentage change to overall funding still remains in place, further disadvantaging our school and its community.
Whilst the machinations of government and their subsidiaries have been doing...? (Answers on a postcard if you can tell me what we have achieved as a nation in the past few years.) Schools have been a hotbed of reformation and adaptation.
Whilst Social services undergo their umpteenth restructuring (in our area anyway) in an attempt to mitigate their lack of funding, schools continue to evolve into another emergency service. We are the agency that coordinates, with others, taking action for the educational and welfare concerns of children and families. During our current circumstances this has come into sharp focus because, unless I am missing something, we appear to be single handedly providing safe and well checks and food (working with food banks and local businesses) to our community’s most vulnerable members and doing so with a smile.
The reformation of the school inspection framework has meant that every school has had to focus on their wider curriculum, developing an approach and content that embodies their community’s values and needs. Schools seemed to have welcomed this significant undertaking with open arms and I have been privileged enough to have heard some incredible stories of the care, thought and love that has been poured into this for the children.
My colleagues and I have been working tirelessly to enable meaningful learning at home, made possible through digital tools, as have many of our educational institutions across the country. With our fundamental belief that children are entitled to continue their education in a meaningful way during this pandemic, we have aspired to create and implement a system that enables us to continue to provide high quality pedagogy. We have then researched, reviewed, evaluated and revised, striving to raise the standard of this provision. This hasn’t been born out of coherent, considered, central strategy, nor is it the result of the fear of accountability. It has been achieved through solution focussed optimism and the willingness school staff and leaders to go above and beyond for the children in their care.
So Mr Hind/Ms Spielman, we will continue to demonstrate our ‘Can do’ attitude, exemplified in a growing body of evidence, despite underfunding/a government paralysed by Brexit/a total lack of coherent governmental policy during a crisis. Is there any chance you could encourage your colleagues in government to engage with the ‘do’ element of your comments and set a considered example for us mere mortals to aspire to by delivering on the actions you’ve promised in a timely fashion?