Re­gion hit by cuts in the class­room

Pupils’ ed­u­ca­tion at risk from short­ages

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - RUBY KITCHEN ED­U­CA­TION COR­RE­SPON­DENT ■ Email: ■ Twit­ter: @Re­porterRuby

RE­TAIN­ING THE best tal­ent in ed­u­ca­tion is the great­est chal­lenge fac­ing the North of Eng­land, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers have warned, as unions raise fears over “crit­i­cal” teacher short­ages.

More than 850 staff jobs were lost in York­shire’s schools last year, anal­y­sis by The York­shire

Post has re­vealed, in­clud­ing 285 teach­ing posts and 95 teach­ing as­sis­tants at a time when pupil num­bers are rapidly ris­ing.

Schools are fac­ing “un­prece­dented” pres­sures along­side ris­ing class sizes and teacher-to-pupil ra­tios, unions warn, putting ed­u­ca­tion stan­dards at risk for the re­gion’s young peo­ple.

And as the North­ern Pow­er­house Part­ner­ship re­peats calls for a north­ern cen­tre of ex­cel­lence to trans­form fail­ing schools, fo­cus­ing on re­ten­tion and devel­op­ment, di­rec­tor Henri Muri­son says it is dis­ap­point­ing that fund­ing has yet to be al­lo­cated to meet the chal­lenge.

“The staffing cri­sis in our schools is most acute in those ar­eas with eco­nomic chal­lenges in fam­i­lies and also where teach­ers do not have con­fi­dence the school is go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, or they will be sup­ported by ef­fec­tive lead­ers,” he said. “We need to see more in­vest­ment in teach­ers’ learn­ing and devel­op­ment to give them the best pos­si­ble tools to make them ef­fec­tive, be­cause a num­ber of York­shire’s best coun­cil-run schools and multi-academy trusts serv­ing sim­i­larly eco­nom­i­cally chal­lenged ar­eas are get­ting it right, and we need to make sure all do the same, in­clud­ing with en­hanced pupil pre­mium fund­ing where long-term dis­ad­van­tage is most con­cen­trated.”

The anal­y­sis by The York­shire

Post, based on school cen­sus data col­lected by the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE), re­vealed that the re­gion’s pupil-teacher ra­tio is sec­ond-high­est in the coun­try, with each York­shire teacher re­spon­si­ble for, on av­er­age, three more pupils than those in Kens­ing­ton.

There is a steep rise in the num­ber of chil­dren in the re­gion’s schools – 5,000 more than a year ago – and yet na­tion­wide, 15 per cent of teach­ers are leav­ing af­ter just a year in in­dus­try.

The DfE, stress­ing that teacher lev­els re­main high, said school fund­ing is at its high­est ever level, ris­ing to £43.5bn by 2010.

But Ge­off Bar­ton, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the As­so­ci­a­tion of School and Col­lege Lead­ers, said: “Schools are fac­ing un­prece­dented pres­sures caused by crit­i­cal short­ages in fund­ing and teach­ers. It is to the great credit of York­shire’s schools, and schools across the coun­try, that they are do­ing a very good job in very dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.

“But the Gov­ern­ment is putting ed­u­ca­tional stan­dards at risk through its fail­ure to pro­vide suf­fi­cient fund­ing and its slug­gish re­sponse to the teacher re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion cri­sis. Schools and young peo­ple de­serve bet­ter.”

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