There has been an enormous amount in the education press recently about education not being funded sufficiently. I won’t be harping on about that because it’s been done before. Something has struck me this morning though and I want to get it off my chest!
I work in a special school. An amazing special school. We have around 270 students, 30 classes, and more than 220 staff. We NEED those staff because of the complex needs of our learners.
Around 50% of our children are on the autistic spectrum. Some cope very well in such a specialised environment, some still find it hard. Some children have 1:1 support, in some (very few) have 2:1 support due to their presenting behaviour.
The learning support assistants that support them are incredible. They cope with everything thrown at them. I am in awe of their professionalism and enthusiasm. Whether they are dealing with a behaviour incident, intimate care or a medical episode they are calm, reasoned and professional. Always.
They are also some of the lowest paid people in education.
My Headteacher and I want to be able to give them a payrise this April in line with that that teachers were given in September. That, of course, was fully funded.
Do our learning support assistants deserve less? Not in our eyes! What it does mean however is that we will need to find this from our main budget… it will be in the region of £70k and there is no helpful pay grant for this. We also want to give the children amazing resources to help them progress. We are cost cutting in every other area we can, nothing is not being scrutinised.
The reality is though that yet again we have a flat cash budget. We have many areas of expenditure going up by 3.5%. We need to fund all the non-teaching roles payrise.
Even if you are not a school business manager, and you don’t possess a calculator, you can tell that doesn’t add up. So, I’m off to check that magic money tree in the garden again. That’s the only option until the government listen.
In the meantime, I promise everyone in school we are trying our hardest to be as fair as we can. You are all amazing. Utterly amazing. I am incredibly proud to say I work alongside you.