Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Loss of faith

I was very interested in the article about Bromsgrove School (May 05). As a language college and humanities college we are very proud of the educational visits and out of hours learning we offer, but we are struggling with maintaining the present level when PPA comes into force.

It is impossible to pass on to parents the full cost of supply and we certainly cannot employ enough people to cover all the staff needed to meet a student-teacher ratio that ensures safety away from school.

We are also concerned about many of our enrichment activities. For example, we have a traditional pastoral structure but use a 'house' system to provide sporting competitions that are very popular and part of our ethos. We believe the financial cost of bringing in supply will mean such activities cannot continue since staff cannot support them as they have done in the past.

While I support the workload philosophy, in reality I believe students are going to suffer and a vital part of school life will be reduced.

I fear it will be heads who are blamed for schools 'not being what they used to be'.

Does no one appreciate that many initiatives actually are in conflict with one another? Work-life balance versus out of hours learning, increased opportunity versus PPA, simply do not add up.

I am totally convinced that the government has no idea about what really goes on in schools and how much 'gift time' staff have been giving to schools and young people.

There are some things we can do, but fundamentally, I fear much of our 'enrichment' will disappear over the next few years due to financial pressures, unless there is a more flexible approach to PPA.

Geoff Tinker, Head of Kingsmead Community School, Somerset

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