According to an article in The Conversation (Schools in England are facing bankruptcy – here’s what the government could do to help (theconversation.com), it will take less than two years for inflation to eat the cash reserves of all our secondary schools. An inflation rate of 8.8% is a large part of the problem (Consumer price inflation, UK – Office for National Statistics) and is compounded by a funding settlement that means in 24/25 funding per pupil will be 3% lower than in 2010 in real terms (Struggling secondary schools facing budget cuts ‘worth four teachers’ amid cost crisis | The Independent).
While there is money for Pupil Premium and the National Tutoring Programme (quoted at £2.44bn and £349m respectively), neither are wrapped into the national funding formula. Thus, the rules around how the money can be spent limits the flexibility of school leaders.
Earlier this year it was reported that the National Education Union believes 44% of teachers will leave the profession by 2027 (Teachers are leaving the profession in droves – I might be one of them | Metro News). The NEU further claims there has been a 20% reduction in teacher’s pay over the last decade and that “educators are leaving the profession in their droves”.
According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, teaching staff and education professionals report the highest rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in Britain. And this quote came before COVID (Summary and recommendations: teacher well-being research report – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). This report noted “that teachers are suffering from high workloads, lack of work–life balance, a perceived lack of resources and, in some cases, a perceived lack of support from senior managers, especially in managing pupils’ behaviour.”
For the children there are also challenges. The cost-of-living crisis is being witnessed in the classroom. An NEU survey reported children lacking energy, more behaviour problems and fewer children being ready and equipped to learn (Children’s education is being harmed by cost of living crisis – Twinkl Digest). In addition, Children’s Society notes that 52% of young people have experienced a deterioration in mental health in the last five years (Schools and mental health: why teachers are quitting the industry | Metro News).
There is a general pattern emerging. A reducing budget, exhausted staff and disoriented children.
It is likely schools will have to do what they have already been doing; get creative and take a pragmatic, incremental approach. Fixing small things can have a big impact as we have found inmany of our school partners. For example;
- Supporting specific children from numerous classrooms with our evidence-based mentoring programme makes the learning experience more positive for teachers and fellow pupils across the whole school. This improves staff wellbeing, reduces absence levels and the associated cost of supply cover.
- Intervening early with pupils who are exhibiting signs of potential behaviour disorders is possible with Evolve’s Wellbeing Compass identifying the warning signs. Diverting negative trajectories in this way reduces downstream costs in terms of additional TA support within classrooms and, at the same time, improves classroom engagement.
- Investing in outsourced expertise that Evolve Health Mentors provide has three financial advantages: supervision and performance management is included within the cost; there are no associated on-costs; and engagement terms are much more flexible. Payroll is the main school expenditure so even small gains in each of these areas can make a significant difference to the bottom line when setting annual budgets.
Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion about how we may be able to support your school’s budgetary challenge.