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A creative solution to the school funding cuts

Published on Monday, 12th June 2017

Can the creative community help our schools (and our children) as the education funding cuts start to hit home? Should we help? by Justin Ballantine

In my day job, I’m Creative Director at Bray Leino Yucca, where we use creative thinking to solve client problems. I’m also a parent of two – one at primary school, the other not too far away. And yes, I’m all too aware of the funding cuts that are already affecting schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. And to me, they’re a problem that needs solving.

Bristol is set to be one of the worst-hit local authority areas under the Department for Education’s new National Funding Formula. The National Audit Office has calculated that there will be a £3bn real-terms reduction across all schools in England by 2019.

What does this mean? Our schools could lose staff and teachers. We could see increased class sizes or a narrower curriculum. Cuts in support for pupils with special educational needs. I’ve even read newspaper reports of teachers buying pens, pencils and paper out of their own money. And schools asking parents for monthly voluntary direct debit donations.

Without getting political (and without a crystal ball to work out what will happen post-General Election), I was wondering if there’s an opportunity for us, as a creative community, to do something.  To use creativity to solve a practical problem: a lack of funding for the essentials that a school needs, that our children need. Can we use our collective creative minds to help schools and PTAs raise awareness and, yes, money?

This could become a pro bono project for agencies. Could go nowhere. I just wanted to ask the question and see if anyone’s interested in getting together to, in the first instance, share thoughts. (I’ve already shared a few early thoughts with the Head at my daughter’s primary school. The response was enthusiastically positive.)

Could we help our schools? Should we? If you’re interested in getting involved, please drop me a mail at jballantine@brayleino.co.uk or tweet me @jayzedbee