Comment - Poor cousin until we're given equal funding

14th November 2008 at 00:00

By a quirk of geography, Offa's Mead Primary School has a Welsh postcode and telephone number, despite sitting on the edge of the Forest of Dean in rural Gloucestershire. But in terms of education, the school is clearly an English institution, and an English headteacher, Chris Brown, is glad to find himself on that side of Offa's Dyke. His small and fairly old village school is in a good condition, with modern resources, but he looks to the Welsh border with pity.

"I understand the situation in Wales is a lot different in terms of funding," he says. Indeed it is.

Less than a mile away, David Evans, headteacher of The Dell Primary in a relatively affluent suburb of the small town of Chepstow, is facing tough times. While Offa's Mead and The Dell are close geographically, the distance between them financially is huge. While his English counterpart is content with the way his school is funded, Mr Evans has a long list of problems.

He clearly doesn't relish giving me a tour of the school, pointing out flooded toilets, classroom carpets held together by tape and a leaking skylight that wasn't fixed for four months.

The small school library is another source of shame; its few shelves are home to a sparse and sorry-looking selection of books whose broken spines and tattered covers bear witness to many years of use. Having taught at three English schools, Mr Evans is unused to such financial hardship, and dislikes having to work each day keeping a close eye on his budget.

But that's the reality of the situation, and Mr Evans says that unless there is parity with the English system, Wales will always be the poor relation. Offa's Dyke has renewed significance; a reminder that a very real and troubling division still exists.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now