Schools need protection from air pollution

… Reviews of air pollution in schools, similar to Ofsted inspections, will be launched for the first time amid mounting concerns over the effect of toxic fumes on pupils’ health and education.

Air quality audits will be carried out in classrooms and playgrounds, with a range of measures being introduced to clean up the worst affected schools.

This includes the possibility of cars being banned from streets bordering some schools and moving bus stops further away from schools. …”

Source:Times, paywall

“Theresa May’s school faces shutting early on Fridays in ‘enormous’ budget strain”

“Theresa’s May former secondary school faces closing early on Friday afternoons due to “enormous” budget pressure, it has been revealed.

Wheatley Park School near Oxford is proposing to remove an hour-long period at the end of its Friday timetable.

The academy in Holton, which teaches 1,040 students, said the move would cut costs by reducing staffing requirements.

A letter sent to parents said: “School budgets are under enormous pressure and our own is no exception.

“The school currently has some reserves but will quickly tip into deficit unless we can find further ways to reduce costs significantly.

“Reducing the school week by one period would mean fewer lessons would need to be taught overall, which in turn would mean fewer teachers would be needed to staff the school.” …

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/theresa-mays-school-faces-shutting-16498450

Level playing field? Not when you have “posh boys” like Swire

Book review shows how posh boys rule … and rule … and rule.

Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain, Robert Verkaik

“… Posh Boys is foregrounded by an appreciation of the statistical evidence on the current state of public-school privilege today.

Approximately 7% of children are privately educated, but more than 40% of the 500 most powerful people in the UK were privately educated (289), including 74% of UK senior judges, 74% of senior officers in the British Armed Forces, 55% of permanent secretaries in Whitehall, 50% of government Cabinet ministers and members of the House of Lords and a third of Russell Group university vice-chancellors (4).

Thus, power is concentrated disproportionately amongst and in favour of those from a privately educated background. …”

Book Review | Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

BoJo: always check his promises …

“The proposal from Boris Johnson, the favourite in the Tory leadership contest, to ensure that every school in England gets at least £5,000 per pupil (see 10.51am) could amount to a spending increase of just £48.6m, or 0.1%, according to a report for Schools Week.”

… Schools Week analysis of provisional national funding formula data for next year found just 35 of 150 local authorities are due to be funded at less than £5,000 per pupil.

To increase per-pupil funding to £5,000 for the roughly 755,000 secondary pupils in those areas would cost just £48.6 million – the equivalent to just 0.1 per cent of the £43.5 billion the government will spend on schools in 2019-20.”

Johnson’s school funding pledge amounts to 0.1% increase

OK with you, Tory parents?

Swire’s choice for PM : wants all schools and NHS run by private companies for profit

Should one be judged by the company one keeps?

“Tory leadership hopeful Dominic Raab has been described as more rightwing than Margaret Thatcher over his proposal to let state schools be run by profit-making companies

Raab, who is second favourite in the race to be the next prime minister, made the case for privately run state schools in 2013 and again in 2014, saying the government should open up the education system for companies to make money.

The idea is one of a number of rightwing proposals put forward by Raab in pamphlets over the years. The former Brexit secretary has also suggested encouraging more private companies into the NHS by giving them tax breaks or paying them premiums, and scrapping the 45% top rate of income tax, instead having a basic rate at 15% and a higher rate at 35%.

Asked whether Rabb still endorsed the idea of letting companies run state schools, his spokesman did not rule out the proposal, saying: “Dominic has set out his priorities to fight for a fairer Britain – a fairer deal for workers by cutting taxes for those on low and middle incomes, a fairer society by boosting apprenticeships and getting a fairer deal from Brussels.”

In his 2013 paper Capitalism for the Little Guy, Raab suggested the government should “lift the bar on profit-making companies running academies and free schools”, subject to a minimum of 50% of profits being reinvested into the school. At present academies and free schools cannot be run for profit.

Raab wrote that opening up schools to profit-making companies could help to raise capital investment for education at a time when funding from central government was under pressure, arguing that such a move would help raise standards.

He acknowledged there was an “understandable sensitivity of introducing the profit motive into schooling”, suggesting that as well as the 50% profit limit on, dividends should only be paid if educational performance standards were met and that there should be a bar on the sale for commercial gain of school assets purchased with public money. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/29/dominic-raab-more-rightwing-on-education-than-thatcher-tory-private-sector-state-schools-profit?

” ‘A national shame’: headteachers voice anger about pupils’ hunger”

“Headteachers have spoken out about the hardship their students are facing in the wake of a Human Rights Watch report that highlighted the growing number of children in the UK going hungry.

Those working in schools said hunger had led to children stealing sachets of ketchup and exhibiting noticeable weight loss. They said that levels of poverty meant some schools had to provide breakfast clubs, food banks and clothes for pupils.

Geoff Barton, a former secondary school headteacher who leads the Association of School and College Leaders, described the situation as “astonishing” and “a national shame.” He added that tackling food poverty was becoming a main priority for a number of headteachers.

“The most striking conversation I had last year was with a group of headteachers in Lancashire – mostly secondary heads,” Barton said. “I asked what the biggest issue they were facing was, and usually they say funding or recruitment and retention. But the number one issue they said was hungry children. They were spending the first half of the day making sure children had breakfast. It’s shaming.”

Human Rights Watch, the New York-based NGO, accused the UK government of breaching its international duty to keep people from hunger by pursuing “cruel and harmful policies” with no regard for the impact on children living in poverty.

The report concluded that tens of thousands of families did not have enough to eat, revealing that schools in Oxford were the latest to have turned to food banks to feed their pupils. The government dismissed the findings, saying it was misleading to present them as representative of the whole country.

Barton said: “The fact you even have some schools having to provide something as basic as food and becoming surrogate food banks … should leave us all with sense of national shame.” …

The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said: “All too often I’m hearing that schools are now acting as a fourth emergency service, forced to step in because the Tories have cut society’s safety net to shreds. It is a scandal that, in one of the richest countries in the world, there are children struggling to learn because of poverty and hunger.

“Our schools have suffered from years of cuts and are themselves increasingly relying on donations from parents. Cuts to public services and social security have combined with low pay, insecure work and rising costs to leave too many families on the breadline. It’s clear that, despite this prime minister’s claims, austerity is far from over for our children.

“A Labour government will take action, investing in the support children need and providing a free healthy school meal to all primary school pupils, so no one goes hungry at school.”

A government spokesperson said the HRW report was not representative of England as a whole, adding: “We spend £95bn a year on working age benefits and we’re supporting over 1 million of the country’s most disadvantaged children through free school meals. Meanwhile, we’ve confirmed that the benefit freeze will end next year.”

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/may/20/a-national-shame-headteachers-voice-anger-about-pupils-hunger?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other