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Dear Stephen - limits on numbers of children in each classroom

Discussion in 'Governors' started by mystery10, May 23, 2012.

  1. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Possibly they're hoping to recruit teachers who are lower down the pay spine. Maybe a more established member of staff has expressed a desire to retire in the next couple of years. The difference between someone on ups 3 with a tlr and someone on m1 or 2 is huge and will make huge savings. Of course it's all speculation. But the governors will know. As for building work - having taught in a condemned school, and having taught in one while it was being completely refurbished for 2 years - I'm afraid it's just the way it has to be. You have to go through the pain to get the gain. My own daughter went to a school that was being rebuilt across the road, it meant that for a year children were taught in portacabins- hot in summer, freezing in winter and they had to cross a main road to go to the toilets which were still outside ( there was a crossing lady on all day every day for this purpose) they also had no whole school assemblies for a year and no pe indoors as there was no hall. But I was pragmatic about it- I've worked in schools where this is the norm and it was not going to get any better. It was doable for a year. I suppose you have to weigh up whether you want to keep your child in the school or move her- to me it comes down to a couple of things- is my child happy and doing well, is the teaching good? If the answer to these is yes then I can put up with most things. No school is perfect, you have to be pragmatic. Let the governors and management worry about the nitty gritty, that's their job, but if you want to get involved why not put yourself forward as a parent or community governor?
     
  2. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes I agree - the governors' job is to look ahead and take the pain to make a gain. I have the luxury of looking at it from a parent's perspective. It is "just one year" (for each child) I hope of maxi-sized classes and other forms of upheaval. Like you say some schools cannot improve their facilities without the pain unless they have a massive empty plot and the ongoing building work does not really affect the nucleus of the school.
    At the moment my inclination is to stay put - there is always the possibility that my children would make more progress elsewhere, and that they would be happier elsewhere, but there are no spaces at "better" schools and, even if there were, there is always the risk that the grass on the other side seems greener but in reality it is not.
    You could well be right about some knowledge about expensive teachers leaving in the longer term. Certainly ones that have come in more recently will have been "cheaper" additions.
    However, this again is short-termism. The establishment of a 140 school with 6 teachers is ultimately going to be more expensive than that of a 105 school with 4 teachers unless there is always a good turnover in teachers and as teachers get more expensive they leave and are replaced with less experienced ones?
    Or is this whole area of pay going to be freed up somewhat so that "more expensive" teachers can opt to take "cheaper jobs" if they wish, rather than remain unemployed because schools are instead recruiting cheaper teachers with less experience?


     
  3. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    More children= more cash to pay for staff. Simple really.
     
  4. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I'm a bit worried that that is the Governing Body's approach to the arithmetic too!!
    Yes each child attracts money, more bums on seats = more money, but each teacher costs money too.
    Simple ratios show that 105 children and 4 teachers is a "more economic" model than 140 children and 6 teachers. OK, it could be 4 expensive teachers versus 6 cheap teachers, but those 6 teachers could grow to be expensive teachers, and then what? It's a more expensive school structure per child, either in the short term or in the long term.
     
  5. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    You seem to be under the impression that teachers will be signing up to the school for their entire career. Not only is this rare, it's not healthy. We're always crystal ball gazing as heads and governors. You can only plan ahead so much- one teacher might get pregnant (or all 6 of them!) some will return, some will not, some might return part time. Dome will movr on after 2 or 3 years, some after 5. To be honest I think you've got to trust the governors or take your daughter out. All this speculating isn't helpful - you can speculate until the cows come home. As governors we make decisions based on all the knowledge we have available at the time. Circumstances change and plans adapt, I think you're worrying unnecessarily.
     
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Of course one can speculate until the cows come home; but it's a certainty that teachers don't get cheaper, unless they leave very often and are always replaced by someone lower down the payscale. Some things are speculation, some things are known facts, as is the fact that 105 and 4 teachers is a more economic model longer term than 6 teachers and 140 pupils. However, there should be some uncalculated benefits to 6 teachers and 140 pupils as it should maybe leave some more "strategic" time available than a staff of 4 teachers would permit.
    Some great and career-minded teachers make it from NQT to passing through the threshold pretty quickly too.
    Hey look, thanks for discussing it anyway Curly Girly.
    Moving to another school would be speculation too and is actually not physically possible unless I select a school that is massively underperforming and therefore not full.
     
  7. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    You're welcome. Fwiw you have to progress up the pay spine a point at a time so unless you start on m2 or 3 because of previous experience outside teaching ( unlikely in the current climate) you need to be teaching 6 years to pass threshold. Of course some teachers might have a tlr by then. 105 pupils = a budget of around £240,000 from awpn (based on the figure I get per pupil- on average- ks2 pupils are worth more than ks1 who are worth more than fs) 140 pupils = £322,000 . £62k is more than enough to pay for 2 teachers. Of course if these pupils are entitled to fsm that makes them worth more. They may also be considering a staff restructure. 2tlrs instead of an assistant or deputy, for example. Who knows?
    As an aside our funding is one of the lowest in the country- based on the average awpn calculation with 45 additional pupils you'll be looking at a budget increase of around £160k which will pay for 4 top of the scale teachers!
     
  8. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Ah that's interesting. The funding per pupil is much higher than I was expecting - I'm very out of date on these things. I guess it varies from place to place but if I used your 160k estimate as a guideline, then our increase of 35 pupils would mean a budget increase of 35/45 x 160k = £124,000. I don't know if things are different at your school from our school as the Gov Body is the employer at ours, so there can be big pension implications etc, but like you say it looks on the face of it like that should fund at least 3 extra teachers relative to the old structure - that's assuming that the other revenue costs of 35 extra pupils are not significant.
    We have very low fsm so your estimates are most likely relevant to our school. Over the last few years the school has had a problem with many empty places in KS2. Now with a bulging KS1 they are well over 105, but I hadn't appreciated that KS2 pupils were worth more. l find that counter-intuitive. KS1 pupils sound more expensive as schools usually provide TAs etc in KS1 classes, and you are limited to 30 per class, so it would seem to me that they should attract more funding per head. But I suppose KS2 children's big feet wear out the carpets more.
    That makes a bit more sense now. Thanks for the info!!

     
  9. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    That estimate was based on our funding formula which, as I said, is one of the lowest in the country. Children who have parents in the forces or who are in receipt of fsm attract £600 in addition to basic funding, regardless of where they are in the country. Children are worth more the older they get, that's just how it is. In some areas a child is worth £2k in others it's £4k. All costs (including pensions and ni) have to be met from the school budget regardless of the type of school.
     
  10. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    We have few fsm, and no forces children. I'll take your estimate though as at the low end. It is heartening. It does explain why increasing the number of children, even only to the tune of 35 spread over 7 year groups, would have been seen as a financially good thing for the school (and therefore hopefully good educationally too, longer term).
     
  11. The current Regulations are the School Premises Regulations 1999, although these are about to be supplanted by the School Premises Reguloations 2012. As far as I am aware neither set of Regulations stipulates how many children or young people can be taught in a classroom of a particular size. That judgement is left to the individual school and should be done on a risk assessment basis - what is the room layout, what subject are you teaching etc.
    Stephen Adamson
     
  12. In particular fire regs may have a bearing. Im not sure whether schools are (still?) exempt from these but generally there maximum standing, seated and seated-tabled occupancies based on size layout etc. my scout group believes that much of these H&S type regs dont apply (private club and such like) but took the (correct on my decision) view that we would feel pretty bad if the worst happened and we were left saying we knew the hall didnt meet regs but it was ok cos they didn't apply. I have always taken the same view as a Chair/Governor.
     
  13. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Oh thanks everyone. I didn't know there were exemptions from Fire Regs for schools and private clubs.

    Also, "risk assessment" basis for a classroom sounds a little minimalistic .......... do the type of risk that should be included in the assessment include the "risk of not learning anything in an extremely cramped environment" or the risk of a teacher getting claustrophobia?!![​IMG]
     

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