Education – Our children’s futures being betrayed

So the parlous state of our local schools is now out in the open. Due to a massive increase in young children, 5  schools will have to be expanded to make room for a massive influx in infant and junior school pupils – Brookside, Cranford Park and Grange Park in Hayes, Whitehall in Uxbridge and William Byrd in Harlington.

Being guardian to two teenage stepchildren and having seen their trials and tribulations negotiating the state school system, the education system is an area that both inspires and frustrates me in equal measure.

Teachers are increasingly trying to do their jobs in an atmosphere of political correctness and a pressure to ensure that exam results reflect well on their school, leading to a tendency to teach children to pass the said exams rather than giving them a good, well rounded knowledge of the subject.

People of my age remember the great teachers who made the subjects come alive for us, rather than the actual school buildings that we inhabited during the week – For me, they are the likes of Mrs Fox the English teacher , Dave Knights the geography master and Mr Harling the PE teacher. My wife is dyslexic, but now enjoys many a good book thanks to the help and persistence of Mrs Rundell at Bishopshalt. Due to the pressures upon them, modern teachers seem not to have the freedom to indulge a child to make the best of their talents, and now will have to deal with even larger classes, leading to less personal attention and more mediocrity.

John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, recently commented in the local press that he was disgusted with the local authority and their refusal to spend more money on upgrading school buildings. I can partially see where he is coming from, as this expansion is now upon us, but what we really need are more and better teachers freed from the shackles of bureaucracy to educate our children to a level that they deserve – More importantly, educating them as we were educated, with a passion for the subject and a style of teaching that helped us to enjoy what we were doing.

These school expansions will not help the pupils to achieve their potential, and have many parents worried about the impact on their education, but what is the solution?

Our schools can only handle so many new pupils, and the national policy of uncontrolled mass immigration has landed a massive increase of youngsters at our school doors without the means to cope with them. This benefits neither the indigenous population, or the immigrants, as in larger classes neither will receive the education that will equip them to deal with life after school. The national government have dictated the policy, and the local goverment have to live with the consequences, which will no doubt be either an increase in local taxation, a cut back in education spending, or both. Ultimately, it is our children that will suffer.

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Jobs to go at Hillingdon Council?

Much has been made in the local press about the possibility of job losses at the Civic Centre, but no-one seems to know what is happening. Will there be job losses? Will they be on the front line, or will they be where in my opinion they should be, in the back office administration? How much money does Hillingdon council need to save, and how are they going to save it?

One thing is for certain – We won’t get a straight answer from the current leader of Hillingdon council. I wrote in to the local Gazette this week, who kindly printed my letter, asking Councillor Puddifoot to come clean over what the council plan in terms of job losses. He has consistently stated in interviews that there will be no need for wholesale cuts due to the council being prudent with our tax money, most recently in the Gazette on 4th August when he said that rumours of mass redundancies were ‘nonsense’. Yet in the same paper on 18th August, one of the director’s has been made redundant and it has been confirmed by the Unison union that 57 staff were being consulted about their futures as their roles have been ‘scrapped’.

So, what is really going on Councillor Puddifoot? Will our local services stay intact as you have promised, or is this just more rhetoric in the way that the ‘nonsense’ of staff redundancies appears to be?

The people of Hillingdon pay your wages, now is the time to be truthful with us – If the reality is that cuts are coming, please have the courtesy to tell us.