UNISON believes that education including early years and childcare should be comprehensive and delivered free at the point of use via local authorities. This route offers democratic accountability and efficiency through economies of scale and allows school staff to focus on children. UNISON believes that it is investment in education and the development of education teams that will drive attainment and close the attainment gap. UNISON is concerned that the current proposals will take the focus internally onto structures and financial distribution models rather than supporting children,
Schools need adequate funding. Giving money direct to head teachers only gives the appearance of more money for schools. In reality that money has to pay for a wider range of services so it’s not an increase in funding at all. However politicians may try to spin it. Our experience of changes in the rest of the UK shows that the economies of scale offered by the support/services provided by local government are lost and schools have increased demands placed on them. They then have to source and pay for those services from their own funds. This led to cuts in jobs and lower pay, cuts in hours and the wider terms and conditions of our members. The formal and informal links to wider children’s services are also weaker making it harder to deal with the “whole child”.
As things stand there is no spare capacity in schools, all staff are working long hours. There is no time for reflection far less personal development and collaborative exchange. Distancing schools from wider children’s services will also make it harder to deliver wider support for children and/or their parents. This will make it harder to provide the support many children need to benefit from the education services offered in their school.
Neither of the funding proposals in the consultation document offers a route to ensuring staff in schools will be better able to deliver for children.