Friday, 3 August 2012

We need investment in state schools.

It's not rocket science, we have been here before, following a recession most private companies will try to consolidate debts - and those already stretched will find it hard to gain additional monies from banks.

The affect of this can be seen most sharply in the construction industry. For many 'SME' construction firms public contracts are their bread and butter, that kept them going, whilst private jobs was the jam.

I'm talking about local firms here, with long and successful histories of employing local people, whom are part of the local community and by their presence make the community better.

Of course the current thinking within the public sector is 'bigger is better'. Rather than say Jones of Amlwch repairing schools in Amlwch or Jones of Holyhead repairing school in Holyhead, no they say we need a big contract and a big firm (excuse used as ever the EU).

This is an idea that has come from the private sector, for example a local convenience store of mine had their door handle broken for some time. The spring had broken, it would have taken a local company ten minutes to fix, but no the manager informed me they had to wait till the 'maintenance company' sent and 'engineer' from Manchester to fix the door, 'cause that was company policy.

Things it seems are pretty bad at the Ynys Môn Council when you read (as I mentioned in a previous post)  "No budget allocation is available to cover other categories of maintenance, for example painting and decorating."

Think what we know about education on the island, firstly there is far too many surplus places, ideally the council would build new primary schools to merge and replace existing schools, that are not only expensive to keep, but not really suited to the needs of modern education.

And the islands secondary schools wont last for ever, take Ysgol Bodedern, the last new secondary school to be built on the island, that was in 1977, that's over 35 years ago.

So what can we do? - well may I be so humble and suggest that we need a 'big plan' to invest for the future. And this means borrowing money, and I'm not talking about some expensive PFI scheme or an equity swap with the private sector, I'm talking of council's being allowed to borrow money to invest in new infrastructure. Can't be done you say, then I refer you to monies made available in an attempt to clear the backlog in the maintenance of our highways see:  £60m boost for maintenance in Wales.

After all not all debt is bad debt, especially with the interest rates at a historic low. We need to invest in education and the future needs of the islands children, we need to repair old schools, better still build new schools. Above all we need timely support for our local building firms and provide a boost to the local economy.

Of course this is not something the Council can do alone, and this is where the Welsh Government should step in. It's all well and easy pointing fingers and saying things should improve following an Estyn report, but you are either part of the solution of part of the problem.

Is a collapsing education system really the legacy a Welsh Labour Government wants to be remembered for?

4 comments:

kp said...

We'd be better off closing all schools in Anglesey and sending the kids off the island for a much improved education. And an education with a language of choice.

Anglesey has got what it deserves. A bunch of ill educated youth that will be on welfare for a generation. But it ain't their fault, it's the fault of the teachers and the county council.

If I was a parent of school age kids I'd be beside myself with worry!

The Red Flag said...

KP coming out with the usual tripe there totaly unsubstantiated by the actual figures. Used to be a teacher I believe? Explains a lot.. Please feel free to return to Germany - you are of less use to the country than Abu Hamza who at least guarentees newspaper sales and a modicum of interest on twitter whereas this is the pinnacle of your life.

Ed - do by chance you mean state schools as opposed to public schools?

Gruntfuttocks said...

Much of the blame for the decline in education in Anglesey schools can be laid at the door of the policy that requires teachers to be able to teach through the medium of Welsh. I am a proud Welsh speaker but in my opinion this policy once it was introduced immediately reduced the pool of good teachers by excluding those who do not speak Welsh. In my day in the grammar stream of a large Anglesey school (before the ridiculous introduction of the comprehensive system)every teacher in my school had a degree in the subject they taught, chemistry teachers had a chemistry degree and so on. Some but by no means all of the teachers were Welsh speakers but they had a degree in their subject and were excellent teachers. Once the language policy was introduced fewer and fewer teachers had proper degrees, they now nearly all have the all-embracing BEd which almost anyone can pass and the standard of teaching in our schools has been nose-diving. I Have been aware of this for many years, what surprises me is that it has taken so long for the govt to become aware of the poor standard of education in Anglesey schools. I am so glad that my kids were not taught on the island, they were fortunate to be taught in grammar schools in England where the standard of teaching was high - the few grammar schools still attract the best teachers. I lived for many years in Berlin and saw the standard of education there, they still have a selective system where academic skills are taught whereby the less academic kids attend techinical schools which teach them practical skills to prepare them for life. With our comprehensive system it is a matter of dumbing down and holding back the more able kids. We should bring back grammar schools and copy the German system and if Welsh needs to be a requirement for teachers then perhaps there should be streams exclusively for Welsh kids who should be given the choice of the language they wish to be taught in.

kp said...

Amusingly, there is no choice of language for education on this island. That's why so many are now travelling off the island for education.

I met the lady who was a headmistress at Bodedern school some years ago. She told me in no uncertain terms that we needed to do something to stop kids from being able to travel off this island for education. I looked at her with incredulity.

In truth, all the schools on Anglesey need to be closed down. We have failed two generations. We should not be allowed to fail a third!