In your own time - BSF, winding up pupils and the sandal scandal

16th July 2010 at 01:00
A scrapped multi-billion pound scheme, DVD dangling and footwear feature on the forums

The cancellation of plans to build and refurbish hundreds of schools has left communities, local MPs and education unions fuming. And given that teachers are the ones who will be left in leaky classrooms and outdated buildings, you would expect them to be the most angry. Right?

Well, not exactly. Teachers in the online staffroom have been surprisingly supportive of the Government's plans to axe Building Schools for the Future (BSF). Many described the multi-billion pound scheme as wasteful, noting that millions had been spent on consultants, that few schools had been built and that local authorities had been left in hock to private companies.

Autismuk wrote that while building new schools was generally "a good idea", BSF's approach had been a "total disaster". "The result has been costs spiralling out of control, especially consultancy fees, and schools being saddled with bills that will last, in some cases, for decades to come," he wrote. "It's a fiasco."

Middlemarch said it had been a mistake to carry out the scheme area by area, rather than according to need. "Millions were wasted in my local authority alone on pointless meetings, consultation and conferences," she said. "Heads were expected to attend three three-day conferences in hotels - one 300 miles from our area. I went for one day and refused to attend the rest."

The anger from the NASUWT teachers' union over the axing of BSF also attracted derision. "Any organisation that states - given the current state of the economy and government finances - that cutting the BSF programme is 'unnecessary' is not deserving of my support," wrote doomzebra.

As the school year limps towards its conclusion, teachers have resurrected a popular game: coming up with the best ways to annoy their classes at the end of term.

Nivarica likes to dangle a 15-rated DVD in front of her Year 9 class. When they get excited she looks surprised and says: "Oh, hang on. I didn't realise it was a '15'. I can't break the law and your parents might complain. We'll have to watch this nice 'U' film just to be on the safe side."

Whapbapboogy tells her class that they have an exciting speaker in to talk to them about teenage sex, drugs and violence. "The class: 'Yeah! Really, Miss? Have we?' Me: 'No. Hahaahahaha. Open your books, page 55.'"

The shoe debate, highlighted in these pages earlier this summer, continued with the worryingly persistent warm weather. Over at MrsMoaningMinnie's primary school, teachers have been sent a directive by their head warning them that, for safety reasons, "open-toed shoes must not be worn by staff". MrsMM plans to ignore this petty demand: "I have 10 toes in good condition which I have managed to keep thus for 50 years!" Cue a discussion about the practicality of open-toed shoes in class and whether men wear them. "Oh, men wear open sandals and long shorts in the hot weather," noted pomunder. "None have worn kitten heels - perhaps because it makes the calves big."

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