Money to help a child find their passion?

In his budget speech last week, the Chancellor allocated funding for ‘those little extras’ in school that would make a difference. The sum being spoken of has been interpreted as £50,000 for a senior school and £10,000 for a junior school. The phrase those ‘little extras’ has caused a storm and there is indignation on both sides. The Chancellor is indignant that schools are shunning £50,000 extra to make a difference in some way during the year. To some extent this position can be understood, as it must surely impact someone in some good way. Schools are indignant because it is widely viewed that it makes no sense to talk of little extras when many think there is not enough funding for basic essentials in schools. How much society wishes to pay for education (and the health service and social care and care for the elderly) is a question that will, I suspect, always be with us.

However, it did provide a moment to think about what a parent might imagine those little extras to be that would make most difference to their child. Would it be a piece of equipment, perhaps for Design Technology or the Sport department? That might add variety to lessons or make new things possible. Would it be supporting a school visit? Would it be engaging a particularly good series of guest speakers? Or investing in some extra coaching, either for life skills, mental health or sport? Giving pupils music lessons to see who found that to be their passion? The resource to put on a drama production over a few years?

What would your choice be and why? I won’t make a choice but I will give a why that would inform my choice. Without doubt one of the most important things in a school is to help the children find out what their passion in life might be, what they are really good at and what they really enjoy. Somehow, I’d find a way to make that possible for more people.

About Philip Britton

Philip Britton is the Head of Foundation of Bolton School. He was brought up on Tyneside, took a first in physics at Oxford and did teacher training at Cambridge. He worked as physics teacher, Head of Physics and Deputy Head at Leeds Grammar School before moving to Bolton in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to physics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics where he has been much involved in physics education, encouraging teachers to encourage the next generation of physicists. Follow at X: @Philip_Britton | View X/Twitter archive | Listen at: Exploring Bolton School | Social Mobility, Leadership & Future School Thinking | Strategic School Leadership with Philip Britton | Strategic School Leadership with Philip Britton