Commenting on Schools Minister, David Laws’ announcement on secondary school accountability Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The fact that the new accountability measures will put many more schools below the new floor targets will be devastating to many. Awarding schools for the number of pupils who go onto employment or further education will also cause great consternation for those in areas of high unemployment or whose pupils cannot afford to go onto further education.
Commenting on today’s report by the OECD, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“With almost 1m people aged under 25 unemployed, it is vital to develop a skills strategy which prepares young people for work and is based on the concept of lifelong learning. While basic skills of literacy and numeracy, as well as technology, are essential, the report points to the importance of a rounded and balanced education. This contrasts with the approach of the Secretary of State who has focused on a ‘one size fits all’ academic curriculum, with vocational and practical subjects, where skills for life and work are in danger of being side-lined.
“The eradication of the Connexions services and the lack of investment in personalised careers guidance, means that those who already face the greatest social and economic exclusion are affected most.
Commenting on Lord Hill’s letter to Al-Madinah Education Trust, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The letter from Lord Nash to the Al-Madinah Education Trust makes clear that this free school, which opened only a little over 12 months ago at a cost to date of approaching £1.5 million, could now be facing closure. This will be disruptive for the 300 pupils and their families at the school.
Commenting on the publication today of phonics test results for England, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This test really is quite pernicious. To be telling 5 and 6 year olds that they have failed is quite simply wrong.
“Children develop at different levels. The slow reader at 5 can easily be the good reader by the age of 11. We cannot continue with this obsession of testing and categorising as failures our very young children. In many other countries with successful education systems, such as Finland, most children haven’t even started school until 7 years of age.
Commenting on today’s speech by the Education Secretary at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“We agree that education is vitally important for children to achieve their full potential and we need to get it right. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the Coalition Government’s policy will achieve this and we are not alone. A YouGov poll for the NUT in 2013 showed that only 8% of parents think this Government has made a positive impact on the education system (1) and today, the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, led 200 academics including children’s laureate, Malorie Blackman, in calling for Michael Gove’s education reforms to be suspended.
Today’s successful regional strike action taking place in Eastern, Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside Government regions is a result of the Coalition Government’s failure to enter into meaningful talks to resolve the dispute over pay, pensions, job cuts and workload.
Teachers are deeply concerned about the impact these imposed changes are having on the morale of the teaching profession, the recruitment and retention of teachers and on the provision of quality education for pupils. The next regional strike day will be the 17 October in the North East, Cumbria, London, South East and South West Government regions. The NUT and the NASUWT are still asking the Government to enter into genuine talks to resolve this dispute.
Commenting on the poll on performance related pay by think tank Policy Exchange,Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“A clear majority of teachers are far more concerned about workload than any apparent benefits of performance related pay (PRP). According to this survey, only 2% said that it would make them significantly more likely to want to work in a school where pay was more explicitly linked to overall performance. Far more said it would make them less likely. Even under the proposal of PRP being offered in return for an imagined reduction in bureaucratic workload, only 13% said that it would make them significantly more interested in working in a school with PRP. Yet in many schools the introduction of PRP will lead to a much greater bureaucratic workload as head teachers introduce new forms and evidence gathering.
Parents, teachers, headteachers, governors and members of the public from across the South West and Eastern regions will be gathering this Saturday (21 September) for the latest in the hugely successful series of Rallies for Education which are part of the NASUWT and NUT campaign to defend the education of children and young people.
The Rallies for Education are jointly organised by the NASUWT and the NUT teachers’ unions, which together represent nine out of ten classroom teachers across the country.
Saturday’s rallies are being held in Exeter and Cambridge and will be addressed by NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates, and NUT General Secretary Christine Blower, as well as parents, teachers, governors, headteachers and young people.
On 18th March 2013 the NUT and the NASUWT, in the face of the continuing relentless assault on the teaching profession, announced a programme of escalation of action which involved a rolling programme of strike action in England and Wales during this term.
In letters to the Westminster Secretary of State for Education and the Education Minister in Wales, the unions set out how the rolling strikes could be avoided.
In stark contrast to the attitude of the Westminster Secretary of State, Ministers in Wales had been prepared seriously to engage in constructive dialogue to seek to resolve these disputes. The Welsh Government held detailed discussions with both unions.
Whilst the Westminster Secretary of State continues his reckless refusal to engage, the new Minister in Wales has underlined the Welsh Government’s continuing commitment to discussion to address teachers’ concerns and resolve the trade disputes. We have welcomed in particular the robust opposition of the Welsh Government to the Westminster Secretary of State’s attacks on teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions of service and good progress on recommendations to schools on appraisal.
In response to the progress made in the recent discussions, the NASUWT and the NUT have agreed to withdraw the planned two days of rolling strikes in October across schools in Wales.
Talks will continue between the NUT, NASUWT and the Welsh Government to seek to resolve the trade disputes.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘Nick Clegg is right, for everyone to achieve their potential in life, education is key. That is why it is vital that we have education polices which work for everyone. Removing responsibility away from local authorities and placing it into the hands of unaccountable, unelected academy sponsors and free school founders is not the answer.
‘The looming school place crisis is as a direct result of there being no local authority oversight of where and when schools need to be built. Instead we have the Secretary of State giving the go ahead to free schools, often in areas where there is no need. Unless changes are made for many children, their reality will be an education conducted in oversized classrooms, unsuitable buildings or in split shifts.
‘On university education the Coalition Government’s raising of tuition fees will also mean that for a great deal of young people this will be a route denied them. Equally the lack of high quality apprenticeship places will hold many back.
‘If Nick Clegg truly believes in giving everyone an equal chance regardless of background, then we need to look at the issues that matter such as an engaging and well-rounded curriculum, an examination system that recognises all talents and education or training beyond school that is available and affordable. Our schools need to be well funded and resourced and every child should be taught by a qualified teacher in buildings that are fit for purpose’.
Commenting on the announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that every child in infant school will receive a free school lunch, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘The NUT welcomes the announcement on free school meals for infant pupils but remains committed to the ambition of universal free school meals for all primary school pupils, as recommended in the School Food Plan. Children however do not stop being hungry at 7 years of age. We hope that today’s announcement represents just the start of rolling out free schools meals to all children in primary schools before the end of this Parliament.
With a record number of entries onto school rolls, local authorities are calling on the Government for greater clarity on the management of school places to ensure a balanced system. In partnership with the NUT, think tank LGiU surveyed 95 Directors of Children’s Services and Lead Members for Children’s Services to assess the effectiveness of the existing school place planning powers.
With more than half of secondary schools now academies or free schools – independent of local authorities and accountable to the Secretary of State – the role of councils in organising school admissions has become more and more unclear. Respondents to the survey warned that gaps have been created in accountability, admissions monitoring, school support services and school place planning.
The LGiU found consensus that a ‘middle tier’ was required to provide strategic oversight of all schools, including academies and free schools, and that local government was best placed to perform this role.
The NUT has today (Monday 16th September) launched the School Places Crisis campaign.
London is heading for a full scale crisis in education provision unless urgent action is taken. The School Places Crisis campaign warns that by 2016 some London boroughs could see a shortfall in places of up to 40%. For example, projections show that Croydon will have a shortfall of 39% of primary places by 2016. Waltham Forest will have a shortfall of 30%.
The free schools policy and lack of local authority involvement in school planning are responsible for the shortage of places where they are desperately needed.
The campaign is calling on the Government to ensure that the extra places that are needed are quality places:
Every child deserves to be taught by a qualified teacher in an appropriate environment.
It would be entirely wrong to cram more children into already crowded classrooms.
At 3pm today (Monday 16th September) the NUT will be launching an advertising campaign outside the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow. Image attached below.
The NUT has written to every MP asking them whether they support the campaign or not. Their response will be made available on the campaign website www.theschoolplacescrisis.com
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
PARENTS, TEACHERS AND THE PUBLIC RALLY FOR EDUCATION Parents, teachers, headteachers, governors and members of the public from across the East Midlands and Greater London will be gathering this Saturday (14 September) for the latest in the programme of hugely successful Rallies for Education which are part of the NASUWT and NUT campaign to defend the education of children and young people.
Commenting on Going in the right direction?, a report by Ofsted into careers guidance in schools,Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Yet again we see the results of cutting costs in education. Ending the Connexions career advice service, constrained school budgets and the fact that thousands of school careers advisers are being laid off and many others are having their hours cut, is leaving teenagers without official guidance on what options might be available for them to pursue. Schools do not have the expertise or resources to fill the void.