18 April 2017
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement of a general election, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This country must have a Government that will invest in education. In the general election, we will press all parties to give commitments that if elected, they will invest and not cut education. At the moment, Theresa May's Government has taken decisions which mean 99% of schools are going to lose funding. Teachers and parents will lobby vociferously to put school and sixth form college funding at the heart of this general election. Candidates must recognise what will happen to children's education if we make the £3billion worth of cuts a year that the National Audit Office has predicted.
“Teachers are working longer hours than nearly every other country and our children are some of the unhappiest in the world. We must return a government that will talk and work properly with the profession so we can bring down teacher workload driven by excessive and damaging accountability and assessment measures. This would free up teachers to teach and would be in the best interests of our children and young people.
“In the sixth richest nation in the world it is disgraceful that 4 million children are growing up in poverty. Child poverty levels are simply unacceptable. This weekend we revealed how many children are hungry and going without food. At the general election each party must pledge a real strategy to reduce child poverty, with children's centres and sure start in every town to ensure that every child has the best start in life.
“Wasting money on grammar schools and free schools is nothing but a distraction from the real issues. This weekend the NUT has revealed that the current government has wasted £138.5 million on free schools. UTCs and studio schools that either closed, partially closed or failed to open. This money should be invested in the education of all children not just the few.
“There are over half a million teachers in the country. Politicians cannot afford to ignore their voices and their passionate ideas about what education needs. The NUT will be pressing every candidate in every constituency to pledge to stop cuts to schools in their constituency and elsewhere.”