DAPH Update: Special Edition - Worth Less? Campaign and visit to Downing St.

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Special Edition

25 September 2018

Dear Headteacher Colleague

We have been asked to forward the following email (received at 16.06 this afternoon due to press embargo) to all Devon headteachers for urgent action to be taken on the morning of Wednesday 26 September 2018.

Thank you.

DASH & DAPH Executive Committees


Message from Jules White, Headteacher at Tanbridge House School


Dear all,

Momentum for Friday is growing very strongly and we now have support from Southampton, more London boroughs and a host of other counties. 

We are encouraging every headteacher to take these actions:

• Send this letter to all parents first thing tomorrow (Wednesday 26 September 2018)
• If at all possible, please join over 1,000 head teachers from across the country who are gathering at Downing Street on Friday 28th September.  See visit details here.

Media interest nationally and regionally is now very large and I attach some articles. The Telegraph, Independent and BBC are covering tomorrow but the letter to Mr Hammond remains embargoed until midnight on the 27th September 2018.

The GuardianHeadteachers to petition Downing Street: ‘There’s nothing left to cut’

TESNeed to know: 1,000 heads march on Downing Street

In my view, it’s absolutely crucial that we support each other and provide the same fundamental messages that relate to our core desire to see every school adequately funded – regardless of context or situation.  Related issues connected to teacher supply/retention and social mobility are very important and we are focusing on SEND and post-16 emergency funding too. 

Whilst it’s tempting to simply speak of our own school’s needs we must all stick together in support of each other. It’s great to give specific details of how cuts are affecting an individual school but we must all insist on the best deal for all schools (sorry if I’m teaching you all to suck eggs).

For those of you prepared for a longer read I have copied below a quote that came from the DfE yesterday.  I have then put a response by way of a coherent counter argument.  I hope that you feel you can support by providing the same type of message. 

Best wishes

Jules White, Headteacher at Tanbridge House School

Worth Less? Campaign

A Department for Education spokesperson said:
There is more money going into schools than ever before, rising to a record £43.5 billion by 2020 – 50% more in real terms per pupil than in 2000. According to the OECD the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending more per pupil than countries including Germany, Australia and Japan.
Every school attracts more funding per pupil through the National Funding Formula, high needs funding has risen to over £6 billion this year and the 3.5% pay rise we announced for classroom teachers on the main pay range is backed by £508 million government funding.
We know that we are asking schools to do more, which is why we are helping them to reduce the £10 billion spent each year on non-staffing costs, providing government-backed deals for things like printers and energy suppliers that are helping to save millions of pounds.” 
Further information:

The recent international OECD report shows that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending a higher proportion of our GDP on education than Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal and Spain. And we spend more per pupil than these same countries too.

Some examples of the savings that schools have made include:

  • 68 schools in the south-west of England set to save a combined £254,000 by finding a water supplier in one round of procurement, rather than individually;
  • Shoeburyness High School, in Southend, which saved £31,000 by switching to a better printing and photocopying deal; and
  • 20 schools in Croydon saved £40,000 by bringing data collection in-house, rather than each school individually outsourcing services to a supplier.

In response: Jules White, Worth Less?

Over the 25 years that I have been in teaching and during 10 years of headship, expectations and legal obligations have never been higher. I lead an outstanding school  in a relatively affluent area. Our results for progress are in the top 5% of the country this year (Progress +0.68). Despite this the job has never felt more demanding.

On the whole, headteachers have no issue with the demands placed upon us. It is perfectly reasonable for there to be high levels of external accountability, parental expectations and legislative obligations (in areas such as safeguarding and student wellbeing). 

The issues that headteachers and our profession face, however, is that as these factors have grown, resource and funding has diminished.  To compound matters, wraparound services which used to be provided by Local Authorities are also stretched to breaking point. 



My school, for example, has to fund its own primary mental health worker (only 1 day a week) from its own budget because the Local Authority has no money or capacity.  Services such as CAMHS are virtually non-existent.  Our local network of schools has to share minimal hours for speech and language therapists despite huge levels of demand, especially within the primary sector.  

Applications for EHCPs have grown exponentially since they replaced Statements.  They also cover the age group 0-25, rather than 0-18.  Funding to enable such statutory obligations to be met simply hasn’t kept pace with demand.   Tanbridge House has over 1500 students, 18 of which have an EHCP.  We only have 16 full time equivalent Teaching Assistants to support them.  This means that not only are we stretched to the limit in meeting the demands of an EHCP, there is very little capacity to support students who may have complex learning and social needs but who are not in receipt of an EHCP. 

Routinely, colleagues and I work late evenings and over weekends to support hard pressed external care services.  This is again, because their capacity is so limited.  It’s not unusual for us to feel that we act as a front line service for matters that are not within our core responsibility or area of expertise. Yet there is a massive pressure to do so in order to support the most vulnerable students and families. 

I could go on to talk of issues related to children’s mental health, social media, staying safe online, childhood obesity et al.  Schools are expected to support and lead in all of these areas but we simply don’t have the capacity or resource to do so.  I believe that it is these wide ranging factors that are contributing to such concerns amongst reasonably minded headteachers right across the country.  

Devon Association of Primary Headteachers

Devon Association of Secondary Headteachers

Contact us:

01392 380518  |  daph@devon.gov.uk  |  daph.org.uk

DAPH Office
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Bittern Road, Sowton Industrial Estate
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