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Stress, redundancies, lack of respect for the profession, the impact on children… teachers speak out about the impacts of most severe school cuts they’ve ever experienced.

Photo: Whilstlepunch/Flikr CC

Angela is a member of the group ‘Fair Funding for All Schools – South Glos’, which is one of an emergent national network of parent-led campaigns calling for action in response to the severe funding crisis which is affecting schools nationally. The Facebook group currently has over 1,600 members, and their most recent meeting drew around 300 parents, teachers and students.

In Bristol, parents have also started organising on social media under the name ‘No to Bristol Schools budget cuts’. Public meetings have taken place and more are arranged: the next in Bristol is happening on Thursday, 11th May – see the Facebook page for more details.

School cuts campaigner Angela Athay-Hunt collected statements via social media from teachers across the primary and secondary sectors in South Gloucestershire, which includes many schools on the northern edges of Bristol and surrounding areas.

The statements Angela received were shocking, she says: “Teachers are at breaking point. Teaching staff are facing more pressures than ever before with less resources, less time and less money. Teachers want desperately to do the job they were trained to do – teach and inspire the next generation of young minds.”

Here’s what those teachers, who all spoke under conditions of strict anonymity, told her.

“I work in a school where staff have been made redundant and many staff have received significant pay cuts. I love being a teacher, I will continue to teach students and look after them to the very best of my ability. But it has been the hardest term I have ever experienced.

“Obviously staff morale is low. I am very concerned about the provision moving forward. Students should benefit from experienced staff, we should be able to offer them choices, we should have the resources to prepare them for an amazing future.”

“I wanted to say that my concern that doesn’t seem to be recognised by many at the moment is the mental health issues. We are seeing a steep rise in on the back of the changes in GCSE and A level.

“Parents need to be at the heart of this campaign – they will not listen to teachers. Every person I know who is leaving their teaching job at the moment is leaving the profession to do something that is far less stressful.”

We are also set to lose the majority of our support staff. I’m struggling to find a way of succinctly describing the impact this will have because it’s so wide-ranging.

“Reduced support staff means; support for students who need a safe space reduced or removed. Increased admin burden on teachers meaning we have less capacity to help students individually.”

“We are loosing our TAs (teaching assistants). As a teacher with 20 years plus experience I can honestly say that TAs are a vital part of the structure of school life and without them schools will fail to function.

“It breaks my heart.

“I am not being dramatic when I say that schools will literally fall apart at the seams.”

“Added content to the curriculum? Funding cuts? When does a child just get to be an individual and not a little robot?

“We went into teaching to share knowledge & learning with the younger generation.

“There is not place to inspire…”

 “I am not being dramatic when I say that schools will literally fall apart at the seams.”

I have never known morale to be this bad and so many talented subject specialist teachers to be leaving.

“This is due to bigger classes, more marking, therefore, which creates workload issues, and more pressure to meet targets than ever before. This means less time with the children. We just can’t keep up with the demands placed on us and we are only human too.

“We are spending most weekends and evenings working late to meet the new demands placed on us.”

“I left teaching because the pressure that was being placed on me was impossible to cope with and was making me ill.”

“It’s about funding but it’s also clearly, from the comments above, about Government’s lack of trust and respect for the teaching profession with continual assessments and pressure to do all the paperwork and achieve the impossible.”

“The cuts to funding are doing nothing more than lowering the standards of education, depriving children of opportunities and above all stopping the chance for them to see their own potential.”

“School is the first stage of development and you learn not only about Science, English, Maths and other subjects but you learn about LIFE. You learn about friendships, relationships and how the real world works. No child goes through school without something they need to overcome.

“I cannot stress enough that funding is also VITAL to children’s growth and development. Whilst some people (MPs) may see it as money, it is so much more than that- it is the provision of courses to help those who need it more than others, provide opportunities to all children, help those whose parents may be on lower income, help those who have never had the chance to do something like it before- it is there to HELP Children.

“Children are our future. The cuts to funding are doing nothing more than lowering the standards of education, depriving children of opportunities and above all stopping the chance for them to see their own potential.”

Current PGCE Student:

“I am hugely passionate about being part of developing the next generation and helping provide them with the tools they need to fulfil their potential.

“Watching the staff work together was amazing, I am so inspired by everybody’s passion. Over this school year I have seen the effect these cuts have had on morale and seeing experienced, fantastic teachers simply terrified at the prospect of losing their jobs, but most of all the devastation at the prospect of our future generations having opportunities taken from them.

“The fact that they will have academic subjects fed to them without the ability to experience the creative arts properly. It has at times made me wonder whether I am cut out for becoming a teacher, who knows if I will even get a job when I am qualified?

“I hold on to the fact that I want to be there to help fight for our young people. They do not deserve these cuts, so we must all stand – whatever our role – to ensure it does not happen.

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