The Price of Paper and Teacher Wellbeing

Ask any teacher what resource they dread running out of and paper is likely to figure first on their list. Lined paper, plain paper, photocopying paper, printing paper, exercise books, vocab books, notebooks, coloured A1 display sheets, booklets/newsletters to parents/meeting information: despite the digital age, if a school is short of paper, it can literally disrupt lessons, affect learning and lead to massive problems running the school.

That is why stationery is carefully costed in the school budget under a range of headings. Subject leaders, pastoral heads and school leaders are given their allocation at the beginning of the year and managing it is one of their responsibilities. When I was Head of English, I divided the A4 paper allocation between the members of my department and they stored it in a locked cupboard in their classrooms. It was treasured like gold dust.

If we add the cost per hour of staff time in setting the stationery budget and managing allocations throughout the school, the price of paper is considerable. A large secondary school can spend more than £100,000 on it.