An open letter to those with the power to speak for our young people and incite change.
I am writing to ask for your help in protecting the education of our young people.
The National Audit Office predicts a real-terms funding reduction of 8% per-pupil when comparing 2014-15 and 2019-20, as a result of what will essentially be flat funding. Schools will need to find £3 billion in savings to counteract this cost pressure, which will prove to be a huge task and undoubtedly lead to compromises that affect the quality of education provision.
I do not want the leaders who are there to inspire and oversee the education of my child having to decide which teaching assistants they can no longer afford to keep. Teaching assistants who have looked after my five year old when she has felt poorly, providing the pastoral care necessary to guide children through the bigger picture of their day and enabling the teacher to fulfil their role.
I do not want time that could be spent developing services for our children being spent wondering just how many more children can be taught in one classroom by one teacher, in a space not fit to accommodate yet more pupils. Spend by schools on teaching staff fell from 56% to 51% of total spend between 2011 and 2015; surely this cannot continue to fall while simultaneously providing educational excellence everywhere?
I do not want the extra-curricular activities that enrich and bring happiness to my child’s day to be a thing of the past. Activities that help to make school a positive place to be in the minds of our children. Activities that help them bond with others, push them outside their comfort zone, help to keep them healthy, and build their confidence.
I do not want there to be fewer GCSE and A-Level options available to my child when she is in secondary school. Our young people deserve the opportunity to pursue a variety of subjects, specific to their individual interests and strengths. We are not all the same and our different passions should have the opportunity to grow, bringing diversity to the communities we live in.
I do want inspirational people to have the capacity and continued want to ensure young people have the opportunities they deserve. A love of learning will stay with our children. I do not want the best teachers with the most passion and ability to instil this to leave; tired and exasperated with an ever squeezed system.
There is not an unlimited availability of money. But if anything is worth spending money on it is the education of future generations. They will grow to be the adults who look after us when we are sick, write the books we love, build the houses we live in, and hopefully do a better job of tackling wider issues than many people are currently managing.
This is not simply an issue for parents, or children, or government. This is an issue for everyone; we will all be affected by the quality of education provided to young people. It is their welfare, happiness, achievements, and tenacity that will shape the future.
I, as a voter and someone who cares about the future, am asking you to please use your position to be the voice of all those you represent to ensure we are not victims of statements that are not transparent in painting the entire picture. ‘Funding remaining the same’ is not good enough in the face of growth to the system, rising costs, and charges introduced by the government.
I will continue to use my voice to speak for those too young to fully articulate their wants for the future.
I hope you do the same.