How many of us, at one point or another, have felt like we’ve had a lack of support from school? But is shifting the blame on to teachers distracting us from a wider problem?
At times, school can feel like running on a treadmill; there’s a sense of endlessness and a lack of support that eventually wears you down. A survey by Mind, showed that 60% of secondary school students have experienced mental health issues or are close to those who have. An alarming figure – but is it that surprising?
Shifting the blame
It’s easy to believe that your teachers are the enemy. Whether you feel lesson plans are inadequate, school supplies are not good enough, or even that you’re not getting the guidance or support you need. But blaming teachers for the poor state of our schools is a dangerous distraction from the real problem. And the grim truth is that it is only getting worse.
Repeated funding cuts are strangling our education system. Schools that cannot afford pay cleaners or lunchtime provisions, so teachers are forced to step up.
Lack of funding
Schools are falling into increased disrepair. Class sizes have increased and subjects have been removed. The greatest hardship falls on those students who require additional support and cannot receive it.
The Guardian reports that sixth form colleges have had their funding slashed by 21%; many primary schools and special schools struggle to cope with increasing demands and reduced budgets.
Bridging the gap
Teachers are trying to bridge this gap, but their jobs are getting harder and harder. Large classes are difficult to control and require more marking and preparation.
Many teachers are forced to buy resources, such as glue sticks or exercise books, by spending their own money. The increasing difficulty of exams, and Ofsted-led focus on all students meeting ambitious target grades, force teachers to put in yet more hours of revision sessions.
Whoever says teaching is a part-time job or thinks their working day finishes at 3pm – couldn’t be more wrong!
Throughout my childhood, my mum (a teacher) would stay up until the early hours of the morning marking work and preparing lessons. My Biology teacher led regular 4-hour revision sessions after school. My English A level teacher found herself acting as a councillor to those who were struggling and could not access the sixth form’s limited support programme.
It’s no wonder that teachers are leaving the profession at an alarming rate, with many moving to fee paying schools. Students in fee-paying schools are already twice as likely to receive an A* than state school students.
If our schools continue to deteriorate, the wealth gap between the richest and poorest children will continue to widen. This will lead to a more unequal society.
We have to act before it is too late. We have to demand greater funding. We have to stand with our teachers, not against them. We have to demand better.
Have your say
What has your experience of the school system been? Do you agree that we need to offer more support to teachers? Comment below and let us know what you think.
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