pound;50,000? We need pound;300,000

THE head of Cherry Willingham secondary works 85 hours a week on average to cover staff shortages. Textbooks are out of date and the budget is so tight that there is no money to clean the carpets. David Mills therefore feels the Chancellor's extra pound;50,000 next year is a mere drop in the ocean.

Resources are so stretched at the Lincoln school that, even though the 30 teachers often work for weeks without a single free period to maintain its above-average marks, it is having to lay off a member of staff at the end of this term.

Mr Mills is delighted that the Government is putting education at the top of the political agenda, but believes the school is around 20 per cent underfunded and needs an extra pound;300,000 a year to function adequately.

He said: "I agree that schools must be accountable and deliver very high standards. But, without being greedy, I need four or five extra staff, new textbooks and ICT equipment, more admin and technical support and pound;50,000 to maintain the building - pound;50,000 won't even get me two new members of staff.

"Since Labour came to power, there's been more capital funding, which has allowed us to build a fantastic new sports hall and extend the car park, but that doesn't pay for teachers and resources. I agree that you shouldn't put money into a bottomless pit, but I challenge Estelle Morris to examine my books and find a single wasted pound."

Mary Pearce, an English teacher and head of pastoral care at the 11-16 school, believes the priority must be to reduce teacher workload. She said:

"I work 21 out of every 25 lessons, which gives me only four to prepare and mark work, attend meetings and carry out my pastoral duties. More teaching assistants and more staff would make an enormous difference to the quality of teaching we can all offer."

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