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School budgets - how would outcomes change if we went right back to basics?

(124 Posts)
Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 13:52:02

Teachers cost money, good ones worth their weight in gold, most schools spend well over 80% of their budget on salaries.

But the other 20%, what really effect would it have on the children, especially in primary schools if (and these are all based on upcoming or ongoing costs in my school)

- smart boards aren't replaced - return to basic black/whiteboards
- ditto old children's Lap tops/pcs/ipads
- PE is playground games that don't need equipment or specialist coaches?
- Focus us on teaching Maths and English rather than art, science, cooking or other subjects that use materials
- They used scrap paper and pencils rather than individual whiteboards (when I started in school I couldn't believe how much was spent on whitebiard pens! 10 % of the curriculum budget in my small infant school this year)
-Remove LSAs

Anyway it's just occurred to me that in my 1970s primary school we didn't have any of these things. Was the education the children were getting so much worse?

I don't have an opinion on it, it's just a thought for discussion, as schools are going to have to change something.

admission Sun 19-Mar-17 17:48:36

I think that, especially in primary schools you need to look at where the funding is spent. As you say about 75 - 80% is on direct staffing costs, probably 10% is then on maintenance of the building and on equipment and 10% on resources.
If you then take into consideration the national curriculum that does restrict what has to be taught. So there is a computing / ICT curriculum which involves coding and to do that you need the right ICT equipment .
There is a massive gap between the amount per pupil funding at the bottom end of the funding scales to the top. So at the bottom £3200 per pupil but at the top circa £7000 and that creates massive problems. Add into that equation that most schools are having to find 0.5% of current pay as an apprenticeship levy, when it is difficult to imagine how we could benefit as a school from this, increased NI payments, increased pension payments, increasing SEND needs and then inflation rises and you have what is the situation now. A perfect storm of funding needs when there is no more income.
I do not believe that you will save very much at all by attacking the non-staffing costs, what will need to happen is that staffing across education will need to be cut. That will be painful and damaging to all pupil's education.

jeanne16 Sun 19-Mar-17 17:48:37

I agree with a lot of what you have said. The schools have spent an absolute fortune installing interactive whiteboards and although they are quite fun to use, the don't make a jot of difference to the learning outcomes of any of the pupils.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 19-Mar-17 19:15:47

Remove LSAs
So one adult in a room with 30 kids, several of whom have low level special needs.
Really ?????
Is that progress ?

Interactive Whiteboards : yup, they were a gimmick, been and gone.

Laptops / tablets : are much cheaper than books over a number of years

Sports : so state school kids do not get to do sport, just private school kids - like it was in the 70's

Focus on maths and English - Wow! That will be a leap back to the Victorian era.
Computing, Science, Languages - yup, state school kids do not need them
until they are magically meant to ave a grounding at the start of secondary ....

RustyBear Sun 19-Mar-17 19:31:37

If the projected tables test is really brought in and is to be administered online to all Year 6 pupils at the same time, then every school will need as many computers as there are Year 6 pupils. Not sure where the money for the extra ones is going to come from...

Theresnonamesleft Sun 19-Mar-17 19:43:50

Maths and English also use resources.
How does scrapping a considerable amount of subjects help the child prepare for secondary? Plus what about their budgets? Secondary would be starting at the beginning to try and cram in several years of stuff over less time.

Plus in the 70's we did art, cooking, science, dt and a variety of sports

Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 19:45:50

I'm not talking about progress Peace or even suggesting these as solutions, but we have 2 weeks to the new financial year and I don't have a balanced budget yet!

I read a report recently (sorry I really should have saved the link) that found that LSAs haven't helped children's progress and in fact, have been detrimental to those with 121 support as they now get very little input from a teacher. Not sure I agree but every line of my budget is being scrutinised and that's one.

Something will have to give

NannyOggsKnickers Sun 19-Mar-17 19:49:59

It would be immensely sad and to the detriment of all students to scrap everything except Maths and English because the government is too scared of putting up taxes a bit to fund proper schooling.

In fact, what will happen is that teachers will spend their own money buying resources for Art etc. That is what already happens now. It is part of the reason teaching is so much less attractive than it was. I must spend at least £100 a month on supplies for school. Not that any bugger ever says thanks or notices. It's all about how much triple impact marking I've done for free at home ( never enough).

Ta1kinPeace Sun 19-Mar-17 19:55:44

I was a Primary School Finance governor for some years.
I admit to being very uncomfortable with the way you seem to think about what your school is "for"

I train people about how to set public sector budgets.

You have to realise you are in the box before you can think outside it
going back to pre technology days is NEVER the answer

Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 20:02:33

As I said, I'm not suggestibg any of this as a solution just having a ponder.

So we can't cut teachers or we'll be over the infant class size restriction.

We have to replace the failing it and supply curriculum resources - the budget for tgat us only £10k anyway.

The school office is already only open until 11:30 so we don't pay admin in the afternoons.

Building is already let all of weekend and 4/5 evenings. Many essential repairs have been "postponed" over the last 3-4 years while we've given priority to things that directly relate to children.

Tell me where I'm going wrong?

We need the highly paid headteacher to move on so we can replace her with someone at the bottom of scale but there'd be a market deterioration in quality.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 19-Mar-17 20:06:50

Frankly it comes down to going into deficit and publicising far and wide that Whitehall changed the employment terms of all support staff without funding it
and that sooner or later austerity is going to cut into an artery
or taxes will have to rise

the front line of the public sector has been hung out to dry by Whitehall
time to start "speaking truth to power"

The NHS has stopped trying to balance its books
schools are next

interspersed with adult social care

Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 20:12:53

I've actually recommended that we set a deficit budget to make that political point, but governors aren't going to agree to that because OFSTED are due and we can't get outstanding if in deficit.

Also, it doesn't make any sense financially. LA will come in to tell us to cut all the things we've already cut and that we can't legally cut the rest, insist on more frequent financial reporting and charge us for the privledge. So we'll have even less money and more admin to do.

chosenone Sun 19-Mar-17 20:13:26

I don't think we really need to cut as much as being made out do we? The cuts to education, the NHS and the welfare bill are all Ideology based. The academisation of state schools was.done for no other reason than to attach teachers lay and conditions and get rid of Unions. No evidence at all that working independently away from LA has made any difference. Next step seems to cut everything to rhe bone so non academies have to join MATs to survive. Most of the new academies had silly money thrown at them and many academy chief execs are earning over £100,000 along with their non teaching senior team.

And how come there are millions to spend on grammar schools that voted for, no one mentioned until Thereasa May got in! ... of course schools should have up to date ICT provision, text books, qualified staff and support systems! Jesus there are staff acting like Social workers such are the cuts in social care recently. Education and the NHS are running purely on goodwill whilst the govt. try their best to break it.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 19-Mar-17 20:23:05

we can't get outstanding if in deficit.
So a random "Outstanding" is worth more than safeguarding the proper education of the pupils?
Are you a lion or a mouse ?

Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 20:25:22

Have you read the thread, it's only short? I have recommended setting a deficit budget.

Ontopofthesunset Sun 19-Mar-17 20:30:18

And we have to make sure that we don't allow any carry forward to grow too much or we risk getting it clawed back by the LA.

Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 20:40:16

My carry forward is about tuppence and had been for the last ten years. The head has been doing things right by insisting this year's money is spent on this year's children, but a little carry forward would help a lot now.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 19-Mar-17 20:54:30

I saw your suggestion to the rest of the governors and you are right.
Its about time LOTS of governors stood up and held la Greening to account.

My specialism is similar and the louder we shout and refuse to be trodden on the more carefully they are starting to tread.
Go for it.
Get the press on board
"sack a good teacher to comply with austerity" ....
year end is in a couple of weeks
effective change has to come from the bottom

Ontopofthesunset Sun 19-Mar-17 20:56:36

Yes,we've been very diligent about building up carry forward but sometimes instead of saving it for when we really need it we have had to spend some to stay below the threshold. I suspect that it will disappear very rapidly over the next few years.

hesterton Sun 19-Mar-17 21:02:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Emphasise Sun 19-Mar-17 21:03:37

I beg to differ Ontop of, you haven't been diligent. That money was supposed to be spent on children. Schools with big carry forwards are the reason government has been able to say "look you don't need any more"

hesterton Sun 19-Mar-17 21:05:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thatdearoctopus Sun 19-Mar-17 21:07:25

we can't get outstanding if in deficit.


Having seen the mental health of the teachers in Outstanding schools near to me, I would say 'Who cares?' about getting that mark. "Good" is enough.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 19-Mar-17 21:07:48

So building up reserves to do a refurb on classrooms that does not count as capital is a "bad thing"
Really ?

And what about the thousands of Academy schools that do not face LA clawback
what do you think they are up to (only hiring NQTs and the rest)

TBH with demographics the way they are, the number of children in schools is only being propped up by immigration.
If there is a hard brexit, the schools budget will be easy to shrink

thatdearoctopus Sun 19-Mar-17 21:08:33

Oh, and I'll agree to ditching my laptops and Interactive Whiteboard when Industry and Business as a whole agree to the same thing, on the grounds that no one had them in the 70s.

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