Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
- School District
- Houston, TX
8 Districts with the Best Teachers in Houston Area
Niche User: Assisting Cy-Fair ISD wasn't only a grand experience in my life, it was THE first educational experience when I immigrated to the United States. O the hospitality by which I was received by my fellow classmates, teachers, and other staff members! If I'd have to mention what needs to be changed in the district I'd say nothing. It got every resource available for those who commend to seek a greater knowledge and expand their future. I mean, we got laptops available to our own use for free, books, a beautiful and comfortable library, clean cafeteria, clean and very handy classrooms. Cy-Fair ISD is a well-known district in Houston, Texas for how they prepare the scholars of tomorrow. Thank you CFISD for letting me grow, use and learn many new things in your facilities.
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17:1 Student-Teacher Ratio
Schools are making teachers redundant, dropping subjects from the curriculum, and even asking pupils to buy their own books, as headteachers struggle to cope with funding cuts.
More than 80% of teachers surveyed by the Guardian Teacher Network said their school has made cutbacks, or is planning to. A third of teachers (34%) reported that their schools were not replacing teachers who leave, while 14% said teachers at their schools were being made redundant.
Excessive workloads – which the government has pledged to reduce – are getting worse as a result of funding cuts. Not only are teachers taking larger classes, but they’re also being asked to teach more hours with less help from support staff. In some cases teaching assistants are being asked to take on the role of teachers.
More than a third of respondents (36%) said the budget for supply staff has been or is going to be reduced. Meanwhile, 18% of respondents said classroom support staff were being made redundant at their schools.
Despite promises that school funding is ringfenced, headteachers have been hit with a range of extra costs: higher contributions to national insurance and teachers’ pensions, the introduction of the national living wage, pay rises and the apprenticeship levy. On top of all this, per-pupil funding is not rising in line with inflation. The National Audit Office estimates that this equates to cuts of 8% in real terms by 2019-20.
The Teacher Network survey, which is supported by Zurich and received responses from more than 1,000 school staff in England, provides a snapshot of where the axe is falling in schools.
Many respondents feared that funding pressures would mean less support for students who have additional learning needs. One respondent wrote that, as learning assistants are made redundant, “the job of supporting students who require specialist one-to-one support in an overpopulated classroom has had its onus clearly and squarely put on the classroom teacher. They are told they need to ensure they are providing individualised support for sometimes up to five students with varying needs.”
Another warned: “Funding is no longer ring-fenced for children with special educational needs, so many are not getting their entitlement. Life chances are being diminished every day.”
Some 38% of teachers surveyed said support for students with special educational needs in their school has been or is expected to be reduced.
Funding cuts are also affecting the curriculum available to pupils, with one in 10 (9%) respondents reporting that either art, music or drama is no longer offered at their school. About 20% said that one or more of these subjects has been given reduced timetable space.
It’s not just staffing that’s been reduced – almost half of teachers said their budget for books and equipment had been slashed. Some teachers said they were unable to buy basic equipment such as pencils and glue sticks, or to replace broken IT equipment such as printers and run-down computers. One teacher in the North East said pupils were asked to pay for their own textbooks.
“We regularly run out of paper,” a primary school teacher in London wrote. “I know most staff buy things for class – on average I spend around £200 buying things for my class every half term, and sometimes more.”
Another teacher said their department has been left unable to print students’ coursework because there are no working printers in the department. “This makes teaching the subject very difficult... The IT staff have been cut so we have less support when things go wrong and this happens often as the computers are old and well past their shelf life,” they said.
One respondent said their department budget had been cut by more than 50%, and that it now relied on charitable donations from local business to function.
As schools’ academic provision has been stripped back, so too have many of the extra-curricular activities. “Field work, school trips, external revisions sessions and student conferences are being undermined or cut because parents have to pay for the staff cover as part of the cost of the trip,” a teacher in the East Midlands said.
“We used to offer the whole of key stage 4 (GCSE) a trip as a reward if they had met targets and behaved well,” said another teacher, based in the North East. “This ran for many years and was brilliant. It has been shelved this year,”
After-school clubs, which are mostly run for free by teachers in the evenings, are also at risk as staff become increasingly overworked and demoralised, wrote a primary teacher in the South West, who said there has been a “loss of goodwill among staff”.
Three quarters of those surveyed described their workload as unmanageable.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the teachers’ union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said it is unsurprising that schools are reducing staff, given the magnitude of savings they’re expected to make.
“Teachers make up the vast proportion of any school’s budget, so they will try to make do with fewer teachers and fewer support staff,” she said. “But if you’re going to do that at a time of rising pupil numbers that means that class sizes rise and teacher workload rises. The problem with that is that we are already seeing an exodus from the profession because teachers work more unpaid overtime than any other profession. If you’re teaching larger classes, that’s more marking, more preparation, more planning, more assessment. It’s hard work – on top of an already very punishing workload.”
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, added: “We have got to a point where for many schools there are no obvious savings left to be made. The only thing left is to cut staff. The government’s own research shows that the likely funding shortfall in a typical secondary school will be over £400,000 by 2019. That’s the equivalent of 10 teachers.
“This cannot help but have negative consequences, often for the most vulnerable. The UK is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Education must be seen as an investment in this country’s future, and not a burden on the treasury.”
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