Despair over school funding and education system in Britain | Letters

Bridget James is despondent about the inequality among institutions, Tony Pitman holds up Germany as a model and a teacher wishing to remain anonymous reveals the Orwellian world of multi-academy trusts

It is difficult not to feel anything but despair when reading about the plight of our schools (Fewer teachers but more pupils,, 27 June). My three children attend a small primary school in Norfolk, a county where in the last week a wealthy and privileged independent school, Gresham’s, has become the “lucky” recipient of a £19m gift from James Dyson. I feel desperate that such inequality lies bare when so many exhausted teachers are working tirelessly to enhance the lives of children from all backgrounds.

Amid the Brexit and leadership chaos, the unacceptable Tory lies that schools have more money are trotted out less, as the focus on what is happening in education is kicked down a long and dusty road. We’ve been seeing unprecedented cuts for a decade. The sector is on its knees, the Department for Education is topping the public accounts committee’s “departments of concern” list. Dyson isn’t going to bail out our schools, nor would any of us want him to. But it would be nice if this government did.
Bridget James
Swaffham, Norfolk

• Far from taking Finland as an example (Letters, 29 June), why don’t we take a leaf out of Germany’s educational system? It did not scrap grammar schools, but kept them for those capable of benefiting from an academic education. Alongside this, it has highly efficient schools for those with a more practical bent. There is room for interchange between types of school and the selection is usually by cooperation between parents and teachers. And theirs is clearly the most successful society in Europe.

In Britain, private schools have simply absorbed the demand that grammar schools used to fulfil, but they are not free. In Germany private schools are rare and specialised.

Less, or no, state subsidy to private schools and the reintroduction of a state-provided academic education in every town would go some way to lessening the domination of private schools in virtually every aspect of our society.
Tony Pitman
Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

• As the school where I teach became an academy, the first thing we were told was that teachers on the “upper pay scale” were expensive. Then began the onslaught on teachers’ terms and conditions, while the management team got bigger and bigger (along with their salaries). Next was the dictatorial style of management, where you were not allowed to question, but had to “Do as we say”. Add to that the spin and double-speak, and welcome to the Orwellian world of teaching in a multi-academy trust today.
Name and address supplied

• Join the debate – email

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition


The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Education needs a total overhaul, not just new faces and minds | Letter
Letter: Helen Parker says brilliant teachers of all ages are ground down by the numbers and by administrators who lack imagination, courage and leadership


26, Jul, 2021 @3:59 PM

Article image
English schools are broken. Only radical action will fix them | Melissa Benn
From failed free schools to poor funding and inequality, education needs drastic reform to create a fairer model, says author Melissa Benn

Melissa Benn

09, Aug, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
An ambitious overhaul of education is needed | Letters
Letters: The Conservative One Nation group’s report on schooling doesn’t go far enough, according to Greg Brooks and Steven Burkeman, while Ruth Eversley ponders a career recommendation


12, Oct, 2020 @4:28 PM

Article image
Tories and Labour both to blame for driving our teachers away | Latters
Letters: Catherine Stirling-Reed blames all governments for the ruinous approach to education, Carl Gavin on why he and his wife decided to teach abroad, and Lydia Bain on some teachers’ frustrations


05, Oct, 2018 @3:40 PM

Article image
Forget Sats – find a true measure of education | Letters
Letters: Clive Stafford Smith says Sats are irrelevant to his son’s life and Mary Bousted defends Labour’s proposed assessment reforms, while Ann Moore and Richard Wetherell highlight the negative effects of tests


15, May, 2019 @4:54 PM

Article image
Funding and staff levels in schools at crisis point | Letters
Letters: School governors urge the government to ‘stop ducking its responsibilities’ and provide essential funding


11, Mar, 2019 @6:21 PM

Article image
Nearly half of England’s teachers plan to leave in next five years
Guardian survey shows huge concerns over workload with teachers in state schools at breaking point – just as the government wants them to do more

Liz Lightfoot

22, Mar, 2016 @7:15 AM

Article image
The Guardian view on Covid-19 promises: season of ill will | Editorial
Editorial: Schools appear more in touch with the risks of the PM’s Christmas plans than the ministers hectoring them


14, Dec, 2020 @6:42 PM

Article image
The Guardian view on impoverished schools: charity is not the answer | Editorial
Editorial: Headteachers are being forced to beg for donations. It makes a mockery of ministers’ talk of fair funding


16, Jun, 2019 @5:30 PM

Article image
Ofsted’s grade fixation fails pupils and teachers | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to Ofsted’s new guidelines and plans to re-examine its inspection system


21, Jan, 2019 @5:44 PM