Secret Teacher: My school sees pupils as a funding formula – we’re failing them
We help students to cheat and ignore threatening behaviour, because keeping them in class brings in more money
A student in my class attempted to assault me recently, and would have succeeded if others hadn’t restrained them and thrown them out into the hall. We locked the classroom door and the student stood outside, screaming threats.
I made a formal complaint to my manager, as did those who had helped calm the situation. But it was decided they wouldn’t be expelled, because that would mean we were unable to receive full funding for them.
At our school non-attendance, lack of effort in class, fighting and abusive behaviour are overlooked by senior management, as losing a student means losing money. My safety was worth less than securing the full payment for them completing the course.
We get an annual funding allocation from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for the provision of 16–19 education. Each student who remains in learning to the planned end date of their study programme receives full EFA funding, while each student who is not retained only attracts 50% of the full funding. An institution where large numbers fail to complete their qualification will have a low retention rate, and so gets less funding in the future.
To keep student numbers high, individuals are accepted for the course even if they’re not up to the required standard to complete it. I’ve been told that all my pupils must be retained, and to achieve this teachers need to ensure students see out the year regardless of ability.
No matter why they might fail – non-attendance, lack of effort or any other circumstance outside my control – my spreadsheet still needs to show a pass grade at the end of the year. Senior management have said they don’t care if exam board rules are broken for this purpose, as long as it happens behind closed doors.