Head teacher blog 15th November 2019
Yet another wet week at Farfield but that hasn’t dampened our spirits! Today the children and staff have come dressed spectacularly for Children in Need and they are raising lots of money for this good cause. On Tuesday and Thursday the Year 1 classes visited Skipton Castle; the guide commented on the children’s attentiveness and politeness and the pupils clearly enjoyed the trip. Amongst a host of other things, they learnt that there was no central heating in those days! This week, children from Year 2 had their first PE sessions at Gym Magic and really enjoyed the experience and the expertise of Sharon Gott, the coach there. On Tuesday after school 20 children from Y5/6 attended Sports Hall Athletics at Leeds West Academy: running, jumping and throwing well. Sadly, though, they didn’t quite qualify for the city finals. Earlier this week, 10 of our most able mathematicians from Y6 also went to Priesthorpe High School for a Primary Maths Challenge. Next week, almost 50 Y5/6 children will attend the first of our Show Time evening performances at St. George’s Hall, Bradford. Once again, we are blessed having three minibuses (and staff willing to give up time to provide a rich, engaging curriculum).
On Thursday evening I attended the latest Schools Forum in Leeds. This is the principal decision-making body around schools’ finance and what was striking was that despite significant additional funding next year, our High Needs Block (for children with Special Educational Needs) is projected to massively over-spend again. Demand for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) has soared since they replaced Statements of SEN in 2014, more and more children are presenting in Reception with significant special needs and the demand for specialist schools and placements has rocketed (especially after the age of 11). There simply isn’t enough money to meet all the needs and some of schools’ main budgets are having to be transferred to try to make up some of that deficit – both at a city level and within individual institutions such as Farfield. At this time of election promises, we shouldn’t under-estimate the additional funds that education needs to be financially sustainable.