My class seem to devour stationery! Pens, pencils, scissors, glue sticks and in particular whiteboard pens. They feast upon the stock cupboard until it is empty, then I hear the famous cry of “Please sir… I want some more.”
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Unlike Mr Bumble, I want to give them more… much, much more. I want them to engorge themselves on, not only catalogue bought whiteboard pens and biros, but fountain pens, hard backed note books, watercolours, oil paints, card and the whole feast of resources available. I want them to fall in love with creativity and as many teachers know – there are few things better than great stationery (especially leather notebooks and beautiful pens). A child’s story should be fully enriched – we owe them this.
Sadly, my great expectations shall not be coming true for state school England, in fact we are heading for hard times. With the new funding formula, many schools face deep cuts and some are facing deficit budgets already. ‘Luxuries’, such as stationery, will be difficult to come by as budgets get tighter and tighter.
I envisage a world where Teachers trade card and pens as if a Hunger Games-esque black market has arisen. Rationing will be rife with our children the victims – starving and looking at the gluttony of the Capitol.
So when I hear, “Please Sir..: I want some more,” I have to pretend to be Mr Bumble and look disapproving, muttering about disorganisation and consider numbering/naming each item. Perhaps even to request my charges provide their own implements! Even considering buying things myself again. But deep down I am Oliver, somewhat alarmed by my own temerity asking those in government, who hold the purse strings, “Please, please,please… can we have some more.”