Secret Teacher: cutting staff numbers to save money is a dangerous game

Jan 8, 2017 by

Management has decided that teachers won’t be replaced when they leave. We’re losing valuable skills and risking our most vulnerable pupils

Our latest inset was one we were dreading, and not just for the rubbish refreshments. We knew the news wouldn’t be good. The status quo – one of discontent and rock-bottom morale – was about to get even worse. And then came the announcement: as a means of saving money, the school would not be replacing staff who leave.

Instead, their duties are to be “absorbed” by other staff members, presenting several immediate problems. Firstly, these remaining staff members may not have the expertise and experience to perform these duties effectively. Secondly, they almost certainly don’t have time to give to these responsibilities.

Mind the gap

The gaps in knowledge, experience and relationships cannot simply be papered over with something that looks vaguely similar. The departure or redundancy of school staff – some of whom are indispensable and have made an immeasurable impact – will have lasting and harmful repercussions far outweighing potential monetary gains. And the departure of someone from a job means more when it is children who will miss them.

Our deputy head is among those on the way out and he will not be replaced. He has taught children and guided staff, he has been the driving force of the school’s ethos and has acted as the main facilitator of relationships with primary feeder schools. That his many duties will simply be “absorbed” is an insult to the most effective teacher I have had the privilege to work with, and a worrying sign of things to come.

As a result of staff losses, combined with our school already being oversubscribed, class sizes will now increase, in many cases to more than 30 pupils. The mind-boggling workload demands already placed on staff are well known, although rarely addressed – and they can only get worse now.

Source: Secret Teacher: cutting staff numbers to save money is a dangerous game | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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