After the recent budget we all brace ourselves for cuts.
Although unimaginable figures are promised to improve services, we know there will be hidden economies which will affect us locally through diminished resources – mostly in terms of staffing. There’ll be less policemen, less staff in hospitals and surgeries, and less funding for schools to support the range of educational needs.
We’re already hearing, earlier in the year, how funding cuts affect special needs provision. But children will be affected across abilities as cuts are felt and schools inevitably have to economise on staffing and consequently learning support.
This is sometimes what drives parents to choose home education.
It is assumed that you would need a lot of money to home educate. However, this isn’t strictly true. You have to arrange your budget around the possibility of only one parent working, yet many families manage this by enlisting the help of other family members, the homeschool community, or have mixed and sometimes entrepreneurial approaches to managing their working life around it.
Once those basics are in place, and following the rise in accessibility in education technology, the truth is that learning doesn’t really require a lot of additional expense, not in terms of equipment, amenities, and additional expensive extras. Although we’ve been led to believe this is the case through appealing marketing by schools about their facilities.
A well equipped school is attractive, obviously. But this can mask the fact that the best resource a child can have lies in an investment in people; namely encouraging and inspiring adults to support the learning.
That is why it is a criminal shame when budget cuts mean that there will be less adults in schools to support learners, whether their needs are special or not.
The way the system is set up to teach masses of children under one roof, means an arrangement of funds to support it that are often misplaced. There is simply no substitute for inspirational people – for any people in actual fact – to provide extra support when the curriculum and demands of schooling become increasingly intense.
In a school situation it is often the children on the periphery, away from the middle range of achievers, who feel the pinch of cuts. And it is often those parents, whose child does not fit into that average mainstream of achievement or behaviour, who decide to home school so they can provide that human resource in the form of an engaged and attentive adult.
And it’s not as if this is needed all the time. A motivated young person can soon take over their learning for themselves with occasional support from a parent or tutor. But people power is the most valuable resource a child can have for their education.
And that’s why kids always lose out when the government stints on funding for education. Schools and colleges will be forced to penny-pinch on teachers, tutors and assistants, as sadly with budget economies they are inevitably forced to do.