I have recently been out and about talking to Local Authorities and rural schools about the findings from our recent report “The challenges of leading a rural school”, with them telling me many of the findings resonate with the unique challenges they face.
With recent anger over the chancellor’s £400m funding announcement and choice of words in the budget to quote ‘little extras’ for schools, we know there is much more needed with nearly half (44%) of the rural headteachers surveyed picked “not having enough money” as their biggest challenge and 51% saying they will not be filling posts that become vacant in their school.
These findings clearly shine a light on the issues, but the big question I hear is ‘what impact is this going to have on the quality of education and outcomes for our children?’.
Something else that I hear often regarding capacity in schools and that featured in our report is that rural headteachers are fulfilling several ‘unofficial’ functions to keep the school running. 21% spontaneously told us about other jobs they have to take responsibility for, the long list includes caretaker, lunchtime supervisor, gardener, cleaner and more, with most (92%) also having a regular teaching commitment.
Although the report highlights the challenges of rural schools the level of innovation and determination going on in these schools is truly inspirational.
I would love to hear your stories from working in or with rural schools and please share them on the the Primary School Leaders Facebook group.
For some additional insight, download our free report: Rural Headteachers caught in ‘perfect storm’ of challenges
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As ever, please leave any thoughts in the comments below and have a great week!
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