Teachers expect the worst on resources funding but battle on

19th November 2010 at 00:00

More than half of teachers expect funding for classroom resources over the next year to be inadequate, as public sector cuts begin to bite in schools.

The research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa) reported widespread concern about how much money would be available to buy the equipment they need.

The survey of 1,200 teachers found 71 per cent of the key stage 2 respondents thought there would not be adequate funding compared with 58 per cent of key stage 1 and 60 per cent of foundation stage teachers.

In addition, some 21 per cent said they predicted funding would be entirely inadequate for children with special educational needs and 53 per cent said it would be inadequate.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said heads will pick teachers over other expenses when it comes to cuts. "Headteachers will always try to protect staff first. If they have to choose between equipment and teachers I know which way they will go every time.

"But that means they will be making cuts in those sort of resources."

Brenda Bigland, headteacher of Lent Rise Combined School in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, agreed.

"We spend about 9 per cent of the budget on resources; it's not a large amount," she said. "Primary schools will have to cut their coat according to their cloth - the problem is at the moment we still don't know what the cloth looks like.

"But if everything else has to go I want to hold on to my amazing team, so I will put my money into them even if that means a lack of resources," Ms Bigland added.

Science and hands-on resources, such as traditional games, are the areas most likely to be under- resourced, with one-third of teachers saying they would not have the equipment they needed in these areas. In contrast, 26 per cent said they would be under-resourced in art materials and just 14 per cent said they were low on printed materials such as textbooks.

Besa director Ray Barker said that the fears may reflect not only spending cuts but also show that primary schools are changing to a more creative curriculum - with teachers keen to promote more hands-on learning.

"There has been a re-focusing in science and maybe teachers feel they don't have enough practical equipment. In the past we have seen a decline of those kind of resources and science has become a more academic subject or simulated with software."

Heads will always try to protect staff first. If they have to choose between equipment and teachers I know which way they'll go - Russell Hobby, NAHT

I want to hold on to my amazing team, so I will put money into them even if it means a lack of resources - Brenda Bigland, Lent Rise Combined School.

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