Letters: School leaders march to head off disaster

Head teachers are, by and large, a sensible lot, aren't they?

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th October 2018, 3:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 4:34 am
A correspondent gives their view on education
A correspondent gives their view on education

Of course they will stand up for their school because they have pride in the pupils, the staff and the community they serve.So when head teachers organise a march on Downing Street, we should sit up and take notice and ask why. We accept that schools will always want more resources, smaller class sizes, better teaching and learning spaces etc.But something fundamental is going wrong right now and head teachers are right to call it out. I have been involved in schools for a long time and yes, there were very difficult times in the 1980s and 90s when budgets were very tight and we could hardly mend the roofs, but in general since then the situation was much improved. Not so now! Let’s not trade statistics, but just look at reality. Class sizes are going up, numbers of support staff are going down, experienced teachers are leaving, fewer of them want to become heads and budgets are now precarious, going on dire, and looming ahead is a disaster. Three-year budget forecasts see leaders having to make not just difficult but very detrimental decisions for their pupils and staff. There is no cover for inflation, pensions and pay increases and costs such as utilities and others are rising much faster than inflation. That’s the simple truth.This is why we should all support the heads in their demand that all schools are funded properly and fairly.Peter Gruenvia email

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EUROPEAN UNIONBrexit benefits are a fantasyI write in response to the ‘Piracy of democracy’ letter (LP August 27). The writer seems to think that voting Remain or demanding a vote on the final deal is the voice of the very wealthy and those with big business interests. I do not qualify for either category and I am also a person without any political party membership.I have, however, carefully followed the arguments and debate, both before and after the referendum.The whole point of the campaign to secure a People’s Vote is to ensure that the electorate are in agreement with the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU. It really is no exaggeration to say that leaving the EU is probably the biggest decision this country has made since the Second World War and it is crucial that the Government ensures that the electorate remains in favour when the final deal becomes clear. That is not the undermining of democracy, it is a further example of democracy.When I look back at the campaign leading up to the referendum, I recall the Brexit argument being sold to us along the lines that we would get a free trade deal with Europe, we would stop immigration and it wouldn’t cost us a penny. In addition, we would be able to give to the NHS the money previously spent on EU membership. Messrs Johnson, Gove, Rees-Mogg and Farage, pictured, were adamant that this is how it would proceed and we would show the EU who was boss at the negotiating table. Any talk of it being a bad idea, even when presented by many credible experts, were simply dismissed as “Project Fear”. I’m sure there are many people out there who have a similar recollection to mine.Even at this stage, the leading Brexiteers haven’t come up with any workable plan. They now accuse the EU of bullying when they won’t give us what we want and, very recently, one leading Brexiteer, Nadine Dorries MP, even claimed the Irish border issue didn’t exist!Since the Brexit vote, we have heard Mr Rees-Mogg say the benefits will be seen over 50 years. Mr Farage has said he never claimed we would be better off. We also know what Mr Johnson thinks of the views of business. If they had told us this before the referendum, maybe people would have thought differently.Time is now running out. The Brexit put forward by Johnson and Co as virtually a nailed-on result is now being recognised as the fantasy it always was. There is also now an increasing likelihood of there being no deal. If that happens, the result will affect jobs and prices to the consumer. That will impact on those who can least afford it. It certainly won’t have any real impact on those who are able to spend more in a year on one child’s education than the average UK family income. Rees-Mogg, Johnson, Gove and Farage are all in that bracket.Finally, I don’t think the concerns of us becoming a laughing stock is an accurate statement. I fear that ship has already sailed.E Harrisonvia email

politicsLessons from Venezuela

Anyone watching the ITV news reports on Venezuela can be left in no doubt what the result of Jeremy Corbyn’s blueprint for Britain will entail. Complete economic meltdown, starvation, anarchy. Beware of this Marxist rabble who masquerade under a Labour banner.Barrie CrowtherAddress supplied