Tune in to Teachers TV at 8pm today (October 21) for a live debate on how the Comprehensive Spending Review will affect education and schools. Presented by Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy the panel will include Phoenix High School head Sir William Atkinson, Reform research director Dale Bassett, secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) Dr Mary Bousted and William Simmonds, chief executive of the National Association of School Business Managers (NASBM).
The programme will be the first of a series honing in on school budgeting, which will also be featured on this site along with our own cost cutting coverage.
You can put questions to the Teachers TV panel in advance of the discussion by registering an interest and signing up to the debate at www.teachers.tv/big-debate-live.
A crisis is also an opportunity for a school leader like Sir William Atkinson. He says: "The threatened reduction in school budgets poses a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge will be to ensure the quality of education is maintained, and even enhanced. The opportunity is for senior leaders to carry out an analysis of current practice and make informed decisions about what is desirable and productive."
Brenda Bigland, headteacher at Lent Rise Combined School in Buckinghamshire (see video interview below), and a Teaching Award winner, is urging other school leaders to join the debate. “I do believe heads have very good business skills and will come up with solutions in response of any spending cuts they face,” she says. “I think it’s in the hands of the leaders to say, ‘OK what is important, what do we need to hang on to for our organisations and how can we work together?’ I do believe the future has got to be collaboration with other schools. That way we can all do things more efficiently and effectively.”
Teachers TV, which recently dropped its broadcasting options, has established itself as a web-only service for teachers and those who work with them. It has more than 370,000 registered users and features more than 3,500 videos on its website, more than 3,000 of which are viewed every week.
Anxious to clear the confusion arising from the Government’s axing of the Teachers TV board of governors, chief executive Clare Healy recently commented: “Teachers TV is a separate entity to the Teachers TV Board of Governors and is not part of the government's cuts. Since the service moved exclusively online, there is now no regulatory requirement for the board. Therefore, its loss will have no impact on the valuable service that we provide to the education workforce.
"Teachers TV will continue to deliver cost-effective online videos, resources and interactive content that help the education workforce to be as effective as possible."
The live debate will be, she said, “a Teachers TV first in delivering a live, interactive, online debate where the education workforce can have their say. With so many changes taking place, it’s vital that we provide the profession with the platform they deserve to have their say on the big issues that matter.”
Teachers can get involved by sending in questions to the panel through the Teachers TV website, or by following comments during the debate on Twitter and Facebook, or by watching the debate live as it happens and voting on the issues live. Those who miss it can catch up with the recorded material on the website from Friday October 22.
Warning of "another era of enormous change dawning on the nation's teachers", Krishnan Guru-Murthy added, "As the realities sink in, the day after the Chancellor reveals his plans, I'm looking forward to getting the views of people watching the Big Debate Live on their computers."