Methinks The Headmistress Doth Protest Too Much…

Hilary Goldsmith, director of finance and operations at Varndean High School in Brighton, wrote an emotional letter on school funding to the Times Educational Supplement on Friday.

In an apologetic message to teachers across the country, she described the cash crisis as an “unholy mess”.

She said as the new term and financial year begins, budgets have once again been slashed and teachers will “once again, have to make do with less”.

She wrote: “We’re sorry. Please understand that we have no choices left.

“We haven’t cut your budgets because we’re unkind or mean.

“Or because we don’t like your department. Or you. Or because we’re power-hungry, unfeeling, control freaks or inefficient. We’ve done it because we have a loaded gun to our heads.

“It breaks our hearts, too.”

And in the comments….


Ouch! I think the kiddies say ‘PWND!’, Hilary. Better luck next time.

11 comments for “Methinks The Headmistress Doth Protest Too Much…

  1. rapscallion
    April 27, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Well, that just about says it all, and the funny thing is that all these “Officers” do the sum total of precisely bugger all to boot.

  2. Mudplugger
    April 27, 2018 at 11:13 am

    At my senior school in the 1960s, there were 1,000 pupils and a total of 50 teaching staff, plus two admin clerks, a groundsman and a lab assistant. That’s a ratio of around 18.5 pupils per employee.

    That ratio produced a quality of educated output capable of either university entrance or immediate employment in a wide range of jobs.

    Compare and contrast with current ratios and output quality – the potential of 11-year-old kids has not changed dramatically, so it must be the other side of the equation that has fallen off the quality cliff-edge.

  3. Errol
    April 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I remember speaking to a lefty chum who’s sole job was to stand in the council between the money coming in from government and gving it to schools. I remember asking her why the cash just didn’t go to the parents directly via a school voucher. The response was explosive. They cannot conceive of a world without them in it.

    There are countless groups in the state who do *nothing* but soak up money. They take a chunk of what should go to the end user and destroy it, in an endless chain of costs.

    The money comes from the parent. Instead of taking it and washing it through government endlessly, it should come directly from the parents in the form of a voucher. The school then gets that money back from the now tiny department of education. Everything else is handled internally by the school and final arbitration sits with parents. If the parents are too indolent to improve the school, that’s their fault and wil become obvious that it is.

    • Mudplugger
      April 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      In the ideal world, you would also be able to take that same voucher to a ‘private’ school, adding your own top-up amount over the value of the ‘basic state education’ voucher to cover the total fees. It’s called choice.

      One wonder how many of the current state schools could survive under that approach?

      • TheCowboyOnline
        April 27, 2018 at 11:05 pm

        “One wonder how **any** of the current state schools could survive under that approach?”

        Fixed that for you.

  4. April 28, 2018 at 2:49 am

    So many fine comments. The school will have to find another 60k to pay for a new Arguement Distillation and Denigration Manager

  5. JS
    April 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    I’m not close to the education of any children so I’m willing to be corrected, but most schools now seem to have huge numbers of teaching assistants – a post which simply didn’t exist when I was at school.
    Judging by the end results, I’m struggling to see how education has been improved by all these extra bodies in the classroom.

    • Voice of Reason
      April 28, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Well, back in the old days, the UK had not adopted mainstreaming, with children of vastly different abilities and behaviours into the same classroom. Some of those ‘teaching assistants’ are basically bodyguards.

      As for the comments in the piece above, there is a mentality which requires one to have ever more staff, doing nothing, to have status.

      I read recently that in the 1950’s, there were 50 administrative people employed at the White House. There are now over 2,000

    • Auralay
      April 28, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Teaching assistants free up the teachers for important things like checking twitter and texting friends etc. They have less direct contact with the children which, given the quality of many teachers, may well be a Good Thing.

  6. April 29, 2018 at 6:00 am

    As a former Head, it’s a case of “don’t get me started”. I’d have to run a series of posts on it. Just on the teaching assistants, we found them useful at pre-school and nursery level where more child management is needed of a “take to the loo”, “tie the shoelaces” kind. Open Plan in the 70s required TAs too but one could argue about Open Plan, streaming and mainstreaming. As I say, don’t get me started. VofR appears to be in the game too, but in America. I was over there, observing, in the 90s.

  7. Pcar
    April 29, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Teaching assistants are yet another Blair/Brown make-work scheme – like PCSOs – to boost feather-bedded public sector employment and Labour vote.

    Cameron or May should have abolished these and other non-jobs; alas they have no balls and are socialists who believe nanny state knows best.

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