Monday, June 18, 2007

Psst! Fancy a bung for your school?

OK, the title of this post is a bit obscure. It's not on the scale of the BAe case - no Saudi princes are involved (or were harmed in the writing of it) nor does it involve Lord Levy or Bernie Ecclestone - or, indeed, Inspector Knacker of the Yard. No, this tale does not contain any accusations of illegal acts by Government ministers. But it does concern the use that all that extra tax that Gordon Brown has sucked out of pockets over the last ten years has been put to in the cause of "Education, Educashun, Educajun-R-Us" or whatever the slogan was.

At Madge and Badger's dinner party on Saturday evening I sat next to an interesting lady who happened to be a school governor. When the talk turned naturally to how well her child was doing at the local primary because of the strong team of staff led by a very inspirational headteacher she mentioned her involvement in a discussion with the Head and a representative of the LEA about the uptake by pupils of after school activities. This was running at 71% which was considered to be very good. However, the LEA person said that the Government wanted to see 100% participation to demonstrate how well their policies were doing. My governor friend, who seemed to know her subject very well, pointed out that not all children want to stay at school after home time and were not interested in the sporting or cultural experiences available to them. And why should they?

But the LEA person said that £8,000 was available from this year's budget for the school if they could boost attendance for, say, a "shaded area" or something similar. (So, a bribe was on the table to meet a Government target?)

Madge was able to trump this. At her newly built secondary school, where she teaches, the LEA had recently offered £84,000 for landscaping the grounds without any prompting from the school.

The more worldly of us around the table immediately said that the LEA must have more money in their budget that they can spend so they were casting around for ways of getting rid of it before the year end. After all they have jobs to protect, mortgages to pay and reputations as w*****s to keep.

I had another brandy.


pcsolotto said...

To the owner of this blog, how far youve come?