Asylum for underpaid teachers or a shelter for the overworked?
It has only been this week that the DFE announced recent plans to offer affordable housing for teachers on site academies and other school sites.
Plans to house those who teach but live in massively overpriced areas such as London have been negotiated by tycoon trusts. Buying colossal land around schools and negotiating terms of property renting has been this year’s latest educational innovation for the DFE in its bid to help teachers amidst mental health concerns. Reasons, however, don’t simply involve housing prices but the long decade difficulty for schools to recruit teachers.
In its aimless attempt to place teachers in schools, the government is now willing to source funding in order to support school premises but at the same time recruit teachers that will eventually be binded by not only their school contract but a renting obligation, too. Who would not want such a deal? Living on site, not worrying about travel expenses, weather conditions, long distance to work in the long awaited school… but wait. What’s the catch?
Although the idea has received some welcoming considerations by trustees in the South of England, Headteachers have expressed concerns over the binding terms of housing teachers that do not really want to be there. Whilst this might be a great solution for permanent teachers, temporary staff will still need to move to other schools so administration and moving houses will still remain an issue for landlords and schools. Other concerns from teachers entailed the idea of creating a housing gang of teachers that would ultimately might not want to socialise and even create social difficulties. And what about the safeguarding of teachers by unruly children and parents alike? How would one go about paying for those houses if their pay scale is too low? These are some of the concerns that members of the teaching profession have nationally expressed on online teaching forums.
Overworked teachers are already suffering mental health conditions that affect their work life balance making it harder for them to manage on a daily basis. Affordable housing might be an option that a lot woud not refuse but one could not help wonder if this housing trap resembles an asylum plan to house the overworked and mentally exhausted teachers in aid of silencing gruesome workhouse educational standards.
Are we cultivating a helping hand culture or are we gradually bringing back workhousing conditions? A question that needs to be greatly considered.