“Do more with less.”


“Do more with less.”

This is what they said 10 years ago when the full time groundsman was replaced by an outside firm who comes in once a week. We lost a craftsman. Someone who took great pride in his work, especially in the preparing and setting up pitches. With this we also lost time with pupils before and after fixtures. Instead of helping them to prepare or recover, we’ve ended up setting up and putting away.

“Do more with less.”

This is what they said when they reduced our budget. So we replaced a wide range of activities with a smaller range of inexpensive ones. Activities which had taken years to learn, to develop and grow were gone in an instance. However we invested time and effort to start again with the new ones. They have started to flourish but once again we have our budget reduced. Things need to be cut. The fat needs to be trimmed, but where when you are so lean already?

“Do more with less.”

This is what they said when they increased everyone’s timetable to cover ‘natural wastage’. Along with performance management targets, the unforeseen consequence was to lose the service of academic colleagues to school sport as enrichment has been replaced by intervention. In ten years we have gone from double figures to just one, whilst increasing particpation numbers. When no one beyond the PE department invests into school sport and extra curricular physical activity can it really be seen as important or as a priority?

“Do more with less.”

This is what they said when they allowed indoor and outdoor facilities to deteriorate without investment of time and money for proper maintence. The changing room became an unpleasant place.  Cracks appear and grow bigger, but they seem to be oblivious. Cricket nets and pitches become unsafe and unusable. The swimmming pool closes, being too costly to modernise. Even then it is a luxury that costs the same amount to heat in a year as the wages of an experienced teacher. A sad but understandable choice. Down to one small indoor space for PE and school sport but still we manage.

“Do more with less.”

This is what they said when they reduce our most valuable resource – time. Less time teaching PE. Less time where pupils can be taken out of school for sport, made even harder by more paperwork and bureaucracy. More time teaching other subjects means less time planning and organising lessons, intramural events and extra-curricular activities. To make more time we move into our own time. Evenings, weekends and holidays. This shifts from the exception to the norm. We still provide what we have always provided, it is just a little harder.

“Do more with less.”

We’ve been doing that for the last ten years. This is ultimately the reality of PE and School Sport in state schools and has been for as long as I can remember. Current funding issues in education are impacting every child, teacher and school. The rally cry of “do more with less” is no doubt being uttered in every staff room around the country at the moment and I’m sure my colleagues in PE are once again ready to do their bit. We are a pragmatic bunch. With less time, money, equipment, maintence, ground care and support we will try to continue to deliver PE and School Sport to the best of our abilities. Even if it means another ten years of doing more with less. We are up for the challenge.

What “do more with less” can’t mean though is less kindness, care and consideration for each other as colleagues. Or less valuing and appreciation what PE and School Sport has to offer. Or less willingness to try and understand the realities of people’s job demands and personal lives. This will only lead to more resentment, bitterness and stress. A diminished sense of belonging to a community with a greater chance to lash out, often using workload as a stick to beat each other with. This is the path to burnout and breakdown. We must remember that the less of “do more with less” can never mean treat others with less humanity and respect, because that really will be the beginning of the end of PE and School Sport.

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4 thoughts on ““Do more with less.”

  1. Knowing your spheres of influence and where your greatest impact lies is the key. In recognizing these things, you will continue to find meaning and purpose in what you do and make a positive difference in the lives of your students and colleagues.

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    1. Hi Andy. Thanks for the comment. You are right, we need to be clear about what control we have and what we don’t. As classroom teachers and school sports coaches that is over our thoughts, words and actions. They can and still do have a direct and powerful influence on the children under our care. Thanks for the good reminder.

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  2. There is always that problem of budgets. What other departments and outside agencies do not understand the impact that has, particularly when we have the potential to implement amazing (and sometimes cheap) programmes. Outdoor trips and excursions, the events that enhance the pupils´ learning of enjoying to move in different ways always are the things that get cut first unfortunately. Only the private schools can expect these opportunities now.

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    1. Agreed. It can have a massive impact, for some it can be life changing. You’re right, if things are put in place to protect what we offer then once again it will be another advantage that the wealthy will solely have as part of their education. It is worrying that this is the direction we are heading, especially with school sport in this country.

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