When hearing of the government’s education recovery package, I couldn’t decide which I considered more significant – the fact that the circa 1-billion-pound package was only a tenth of the recommended spending amount, or that the government’s (voluntary) chief advisor on education recovery, Sir Kevan Collins resigned once the announcement was made.
Arguably, you don’t get the press exposure of this without both of these elements; that an advisor can feel so disappointed by a decision that he moves away from an opportunity to continue to influence policy that support children, something he has worked hard on all his life, or that the government can offer 12 billion pounds less than what has been asked for education recovery.
Perhaps Sir Kevan’s estimate of requirements for supporting children was overly ambitious considering the current climate and clamber from all circles for extra funding.
Funding is often the reason that educational programmes and activities fail, the reasons for this can generally be put into two categories. Firstly, external funding may be sourced for a programme to run for a set period of time, one, two, three years if lucky and then that funding ceases causing a programme to stop and the opportunity of full impact not to be realised.
The second, which relates to the government’s education recovery package, is that not enough funding is received. Schools and programmes that receive limited funding will struggle to make a positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged children compared to those setting with more funding.
As we’ve seen educational inequality has worsened significantly during the pandemic. This wrecks opportunities for young lives; diminishes the creative and innovative talent available for future economic prosperity and will increase the future demands on an already exhausted and expensive statutory services.
This is why St John's joined 240 other leaders from across the business, education and charity sectors by signing an FEA-led open letter, urging the Government to invest further in their stated intention of helping pupils.
St John’s is just at the beginning of our educational funding journey. Questions of amounts of funding, sustainability and long-term impact will lead us to continually challenge ourselves and our decisions as to how we can best serve children and communities.
- Sam Gillett, Head of Delivery and Impact, St John's Foundation