Strike a Match

The following article was originally published in Fusion Magazine UK:

A community focused education magazine based on 4 pillars: Education, technology, culture and lifestyle.

Read more here.


There is fire in hope. 

Across the country, picket lines are scorching welts of resistance into well-worn tarmac paths that lead to our college doors.

These demonstrations are visible eruptions of simmering inequity from the core of our further education sector. 

The smouldering ashes of underfunding have percolated fumes into darkened, smoke-filled rooms. 

The resulting toxic emanations have been suffocating our workforce, and in recent weeks we have taken to the streets for air.

There is fire in hope.

As the number of sixteen to nineteen year olds in further education soars, funding per learner trickles in continuous decline. 

For as long as economy comes before ecology we will continue to pour investment into buildings to contain students in classrooms with no teachers.

A thirty five percent decline in pay against inflation has extinguished our ability to recruit or retain staff; adding fuel to the fires that a skeletal body of burnt-out teachers scrabble to contain.

More than half of our colleagues leave this sector within their first three years. Those who stay seek to preserve their emotional and financial wellbeing by chasing livable salaries into leadership roles that remove them from the classroom.

Expertise is developed over time, yet policy-makers’ negligence has cultivated an environment where no teacher can afford to invest time.

So we are reclaiming our time. 

We take unpaid time to raise the alarm because we can neither afford to nor afford not to. 

There is fire in hope.

Some pour scorn onto our efforts. It seeks to dampen our flames but acts only as gasoline.

Our anger burns on the ground whilst our placards, scorched with slogans of heartbreak and joy, rise like glistening embers amongst exhausted fumes.

There is fire in hope.

Further education is a celebratory explosion of opportunity. 

Just as we stand in awe beneath skies full of fireworks, we should marvel at the brightness, the boldness and the brilliance of this sector.

Our colleges kindle the country’s tradespeople, healthworkers, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Our teachers spark the curiosity of the educationally disengaged, and craft pathways to walk alongside those who are lost.

But the heat has taken its toll, and the cup has run dry.

It is time to fight fire with fire.

Strike a match.

Kindle the flame.

There is fire in hope.