Tag Archives: funding

Inspire A Generation

Wow! What an amazing couple of weeks we’ve had with the Olympics. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been inspired to get my trainers on and get out the door. And from what I’ve been seeing on Twitter, so have lots of young people. Fantastic! Now, if only we can think sensibly about how to move this forward, especially in the wake of the news that lots of schools have sold off their playing fields…

1. Schools. We need to stop thinking schools are the answer to everything. they aren’t. Young people are in only in school for a certain amount of time. They are not solely responsible for raising a child. Yes they play a massive role and have a huge responsibility, but they can’t do it on their own. They don’t have the time or the funding and have a huge number of issues to contend with such as timetables and resources. It is essential that we instill in young people the importance of an active healthy lifestyle. They need to associate wellness and health with a balanced lifestyle and diet. They need to know how to fit that in with their academic work. However, one of the problems is that schools cannot accommodate all types of sport. They don’t have the facilities for everyone to have a go at rowing or archery or cycling. Some will, most won’t. They don’t have the funds to access these for every students. It’s just the way it is. So how can this be rectified?

2. Community. Where are there are rowing clubs for example, they need to get into schools and publicise what they have on offer. The community needs to pull together and work with schools to help young people get involved and stay involved. They’ll need funding and this won’t always be easy to come by but if everyone pulls together, fund raises, bids for anything and everything they can, then something might be able to work. Community sports groups will need help from schools and possibly the most important group of all.

3. Parents. So many athletes during London 2012 thanked their parents for their support. So parents, please don’t underestimate how important you are. You are essential, whether your child is going to be the next Jessica Ennis or not. You need to show the type of balanced lifestyle that schools are being told to instill in young people, but if you aren’t doing that, it will be difficult for most children to see it working. Are you eating your five a day? Do you wear a cycle helmet while out on your bike? Children emulate what their parents do – we learn everything from tolerance to money lessons to eating habits from our parents, no matter what schools do. It’s parents who drive their children to the swimming pool. It’s parents who will buy the boxing gloves and mouth shields. Are you inspired to help your child become the next Nicola Adams?

Each group cannot work independently and succeed. They all need to work together if the inspiration from London 2012 is going to have any kind of longevity. I think it can succeed. The Paralympics will only increase the inspiration, as these superhuman athletes achieve beyond expectation. We as communities, as a society and as a nation need to do what we can to encourage these seeds of inspiration to grow. We can’t rely on the Government or even the athletics association. Money is tight. Resources are tight. But if we want to have the same buzz we had this summer in four years time, we need to pull together.

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My first ever Guardian blog post!

So there I was yesterday, sitting at my desk, writing some resources for a project I’m working on. I always have Twitter open on my desktop, just so I can keep up with what’s going on. Plus, when you work at home on your own it’s nice to talk to people online.

Anyway, @GuardianTeach tweeted and asked if there were any RE teachers interested in blogging. Naturally I retweeted but I also replied saying that it was a shame they didn’t tweet last year when I actually was one. They replied, suggesting I get in touch anyway. So I did. I love a good blog and was definitely interested. They wanted a response to Professor James Conroy’s report on the state of RE in schools today. I was able to be honest in my response to the findings within the report.

To say it was easy is an understatement. I know budgets are tight within schools, always have, always will be. But I’ve been on the side where you have to make your budget stretch more than most. I wasn’t shocked by the findings. I had to fight RE’s corner many times. It’s not always respected by most of the other staff. And that’s what makes the RE teachers job harder. No matter how hard you stretch your budget, how many pens you ‘borrow’ from certain Swedish furniture shops, you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

I can remember on inset days after the summer holidays when the whole staff would meet & we would go through the exam results. As someone who was super conscientious & worked incredibly hard for her students, this was torture. At times, RE is taught by non-specialists who don’t always have the subject knowledge. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you work, students don’t always do the work. So sitting with the results up on the PowerPoint, I wanted to jump up & say, ‘But you don’t know how hard I’ve worked, it’s not fair, we don’t have any money, there are only 2 of us, we only have an hour a week, we teach everyone, we did our best!’ I never did shout this out, but I have mini-panic attacks over it.

I’m not saying other teachers don’t work hard or have tough times or difficult working environments. But if RE is as important as the Government suggests then they need to back it up. Come on Gove, put your money where your mouth is!

To read my blog post, have a read of it here. Let me know what you think. My budget for the year was about £800 for way more students. What are your experiences? What’s your budget like?

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