Structured Home Learning - SHL

Welcome to our new blog about the practicalities of home educating and how we at Structured Home Learning work to help parents do the best for their children.

We would value your comments and suggestions for future articles. Please email us with any contributions or issues you'd like to see covered.

Pressures on school funding

Schools in the UK are under more pressure than ever in modern times. Government funding cuts (£2.8 billion in real terms) have led to a steady increase in class sizes as teaching and support staff are reduced. This is at the same time as a population bulge works its way through the system. The most obvious sign of this is the difficulty of finding a place in some popular local schools.

Girl writing in a notebook

Most of a school’s budget is spent on staff salaries which are more expensive since the government budget changed National Insurance and pensions contributions. This means that money for materials, from toilet rolls to textbooks, is severely reduced.

Results of School Funding Cuts

Children bear the brunt of these cuts with fewer support staff to help children who struggle, larger classes can be more disruptive and stationery, textbooks and other learning materials are in short supply. Extra-curricular clubs have been cut and some secondary schools have reduced the number of GCSE courses they can offer.

Some schools have taken the step of asking for voluntary contributions (£50 a month in one London school) to improve the learning experience for their pupils. This is a significant amount for families, especially if they have more than one child and they are in different schools.

Add to this the fact that Academies and Free schools do not have to have qualified teachers on their staff. They also do not have to follow the National Curriculum which, despite the arguments about content, does give all students an equal coverage of subject knowledge.

How does this affect parents? They see the pressure on education badly impacting their children and know that circumstances are unlikely to improve in time for their children to benefit.

Home education can be the answer

Families can combine to share the teaching (or facilitation as we prefer) leaving a parent free to work part-time. The materials in our curriculum packs can be reused for younger children and each child can have their own, named schedule to personalise their education. Each curriculum pack covers the National Curriculum programme of study which lays the foundation for GCSE courses leading to further education. The materials set out the information and activities which help each child learn effectively. We can also include the relevant teacher resources to help you deliver the learning objectives and assess the work.

Parents can be pro-active in their children’s education. So much of a child’s ability has been shaped by a parent’s influence from the earliest days of life. This can continue into their teenage years where the child has less pressure from the school system and the benefits of a supportive home environment.

Written 2nd July 2018 by Lindsay Brown

New funding system leaves schools worse off, say headteachers
Poll finds 90% of heads had to use cash for disadvantaged pupils to prop up budgets

- Sally Weale for The Guardian Tue 8 May 2018

School class sizes in England 'rising due to funding cuts'
Coalition of unions warn that individual support for pupils will be affected by staff cuts

- Richard Adams for The Guardian Thu 8 Mar 2018

Schools cutting posts amid 'funding catastrophe'
The crisis of school funding in England is turning into a catastrophe, the largest teaching union has said.

- Hannah Richardson for BBC News 31 March 2018

Education Spending - Institute for Fiscal Studies

School Funding in England Since 2010
What the Key Evidence Tells Us

- Hilary Grayson, Maire Williams for National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) 16 January 2018