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The News Line: News Music, drama & art axed from schools
Norfolk teachers demonstrating against the savage cuts in education funding – the situation has got so bad that subjects are being axed from schools’ curriculums
MUSIC, languages, drama, PE, design technology and art, as well as vocational subjects including engineering, construction, and childcare, have all being axed from secondary schools’ curriculums because of Tory cuts, a damning new poll of teachers released yesterday by the NUT and ATL has shown.


The Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ (ATL) annual conference began yesterday in Liverpool to discuss the real war launched against education by this Tory government. The conference is continuing today and concludes on Wednesday.

Meanwhile the National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) Annual Conference will be held at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, from Friday 14 until Tuesday 18 April. Both unions recently voted to merge as one union.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of NUT, said yesterday: ‘Parents cannot sit back and watch their children’s education harmed by this bargain basement approach to schooling.’

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: ‘Unless the government finds more money for schools and fast, today’s school children will have severely limited choices at school.’

The poll suggests pupils’ options are being narrowed throughout the secondary curriculum. One London school has ‘shed’ design technology at GCSE from the curriculum for 11-14-year-olds, according to a staff member.

Overall, 64% of secondary staff said there had been a reduction in vocational subjects in their schools. One teacher from a secondary school in Cornwall, responding in the survey, said: ‘All vocational subjects have already been removed from the curriculum because of funding pressures.’

In summary:
• Half of all respondents reported that class sizes had risen since last year.
• Half reported that teaching posts had already been cut and almost two thirds reported that classroom support staff posts had been cut.
• Almost three quarters reported cuts in spending on books and equipment.
• Almost half reported cuts in special educational needs provision (SEN) for children with disabilities.
• Threatening the fundamental right to free education, one in six reported that their school had been driven to ask parents for financial contributions to help with funding.

On the this issue, Bousted added: ‘Children from poorer families will be even further disadvantaged because their parents may struggle to provide the resources schools can no longer afford.’

On swelling class sizes, one teacher in a secondary school in northern England responding to the survey, said that she was teaching a class of 64, over twice the Department for Education limit of 30 to a class.

She said: ‘I have one “master class” of 64, with another teacher on cover to support behaviour, which is frankly just a lecture and the students are doing badly as I cannot help them all!’ Other teachers said that their school could not afford to buy basic essential equipment like pens and paper and that either the teacher had to bring in their own supplies or ask the pupils to do so.

A teacher in a primary school in Bromley said: ‘I want to promote a lifelong love of reading but am being told that there just aren’t the funds to pay for BOOKS! This is devastating to me – books are a fundamental resource for children, at any stage in their education.’

Half of respondents (49%) said their school has asked parents to pay for items to help their child’s education. Most commonly schools ask parents to pay for attendance at school concerts and sports events, but 10% said their school asks parents to pay for text books and 12% for art and design technology materials.
 
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