Press releases - England

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England

Public Accounts Committee’s damning report on school funding

29 March 2017

Commenting on the Commons Public Accounts Committee’s report Financial sustainability of schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“This is yet another nail in the coffin of the Government’s school funding policy.  It is quickly becoming the case that no one other than the Prime Minister believes that the school system can manage on existing funding, let alone absorb the impact of a new funding formula introduced alongside a cash freeze on school budgets.

Free Schools

28 March 2017

Commenting on the creation of LocatED, a new public property company set up to purchase and develop sites to help create new free schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"This announcement is nothing new. It is, however, deeply despairing for teachers and parents. While the vast majority of existing schools are balanced on a financial cliff edge, the decision to pour yet more money into the completely discredited free schools project is nothing short of obscene.

More than a score launches alternative to the discredited system of primary assessment

29 March 2017

Westminster Launch Today:

6 PM WEDNESDAY 29TH MARCH

MAURICE BARNETT ROOM, CENTRAL HALL WESTMINSTER, STOREY'S GATE, LONDON SW1H 9NH

SPEAKERS:

Madeleine Holt - Rescue our Schools
David Reedy - United Kingdom Literacy Association
Nancy Stewart - TACTYC, Association for Professional Development in Early Years
Anne Swift - President, National Union of Teachers

Historic step forward: ATL and NUT to form a new union

22 March 2017

Today, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) announced that members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining to form a new union*. The union will be called the National Education Union.
The National Education Union will come into existence on 1 September 2017 with over 450,000 members, representing the majority of teachers and providing a powerful voice for the whole education profession, including support staff, lecturers and leaders working in state-funded and independent schools and colleges. It will be the fourth largest trade union in the UK and the biggest union of teachers and education professionals in Europe.

Education Policy Institute (EPI) on cuts to school budgets

17 March 2017

Commenting on the findings of the EPI’s report, The Implications of the National Funding Formula for schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The EPI recognises the fact that a combination of the National Funding Formula and the cash freeze on school budgets will have a negative impact on schools.

Budget Speech

8 March 2017

Commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s speech, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“This budget is a complete dereliction of duty to our children and young people. The Chancellor knows full well that schools and sixth form colleges up and down the country are on their knees struggling to make ends meet.

Ofsted Short Inspections

7 March 2017

Commenting on a reliability study of short inspections, published by Ofsted, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“This is a thorough and honest report from Ofsted which seeks to examine the reliability of its short inspections for ‘good’ schools that were introduced in September 2015. As Ofsted itself points out, it was neither an evaluation of the validity of Ofsted inspections, nor was it a reliability indicator of full section 5 inspections.*

School Funding

7 March 2017

Commenting on the Chancellor’s preview of an ‘investment boost’ for schools in Wednesday’s Budget Speech, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Government is clearly in denial. It is astonishing that they persist with the claim that they are protecting the core school budgets when the truth is that funding per pupil is being cut in real terms with schools set to lose £3billion per year by 2020.

NUT/CPAG figures show Government school funding proposals will hit schools with the poorest children hardest

3 March 2017

New research by NUT and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) using DfE data shows that, under current Government school funding policy, the 1,000 schools with the highest number of children with free school meals are facing much higher cuts in funding per pupil than schools generally.

Sex and Relationship Education in schools

1 March 2017

Commenting on the Government’s proposal on Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools: Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

“It is really positive that the Government plans to make SRE compulsory in all schools, and to consult about what support schools need. There is a consensus within the profession that SRE should be statutory because of the benefits for children and young people. The NUT has been at the heart of the campaign to achieve the proper status for this vital subject.

Secondary school place allocation

1 March 2017

Commenting on the day parents are told of their child’s secondary school place allocation Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“We hope that parents and children get the secondary school place of choice. We know, however, for many this will not be the case resulting in children being separated from siblings or primary school friends and for some will result in travelling longer distances. Such anxiety at this important stage in children’s education is unnecessary.

Race in the workplace review

1 March 2017

Commenting on the McGregor Smith Review, The Time for Talking is Over, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers said:

“The NUT welcomes the publication of this review on race in the workplace, to which we were privileged to contribute. It accurately reflects the aspirations of Black and Minority Ethnic workers and job seekers. 

Teach First

1 March 2017

Commenting on a Teach First report on the hurdles facing children from disadvantaged backgrounds, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Teach First are right to point out that poverty does have a negative impact on children's educational achievement. Poverty blights children's and parents lives and is a problem that successive Governments have failed to address. It is this failure that is the elephant in the room of every education debate.

Sutton Trust Report on School Admissions

1 March 2017

Commenting on the Sutton Trust report, Selective Comprehensives 2017, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union said:

“The NUT does not share the Sutton Trust’s view that school quality can be judged solely by GCSE or Progress 8 scores. Most schools work extremely hard to provide pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum that includes a wide, interesting and challenging set of subjects, many of which are not included in these measures. Schools take seriously their pastoral role and their responsibility to support the development of young people who can meet the challenges of the 21st century, both in the workplace and in wider society.

Multi-Academy Trusts

28 February 2017

In response to the Commons Education Select Committee report, published today, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“This thorough and thoughtful report from the Education Select Committee will make for uncomfortable reading for the Secretary of State for Education, her Ministers and the Department.

UTCs and STEM

28 February 2017

In response to the Baker Dearing Educational Trust report From school work to real work, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

"The NUT acknowledges that both the provision of vocational education within schools and the careers advice on offer have been marginalised within schools. The NUT supports a reformed, unified system of 14-19 curriculum and qualifications which helps bring an end to the notion that academic and technical learning pathways are an ‘either/or’ option. However, the move towards more ‘academic’ GCSEs and A Levels directly hinders this aspiration.

Social Mobility

27 February 2017

Commenting on the Social Mobility Commission Report, Low income pupils’ progress at secondary school, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Secondary teachers are committed to, and focused on, ensuring that all children achieve their very best academically. Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds may need additional support to fulfil their potential and teachers work tirelessly to ensure they can do so. But neither teachers nor schools can do this on their own. Government has a responsibility to ensure that schools have sufficient funding to provide the trained teachers, resources, SEND and additional intervention as appropriate, that children need. The current cuts to school funding face overturning all the progress made in recent years.

Teachers’ Working Time Survey

24 February 2017

The Department for Education’s newly published Teachers' Working Time Survey shows that teachers are working on average 54.4 hours per week, with 93 per cent of teachers saying workload is a fairly or very serious problem. The figures show teachers have to spend an average of 60% of working hours on tasks other than teaching. Primary teachers new to the profession are working nearly 19 hours per week outside school hours, causing many to leave the profession within just a few years of qualifying. School leaders’ average weekly hours are even higher.

Work Your Proper Hours Day

24 February 2017

Commenting on the TUC’s latest analysis of unpaid overtime, which shows an average 12.1hrs per worker for teaching and educational professionals, putting them second only to Chief Executives (13.2hrs), Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Once again, the TUC has found that teachers and the education sector as a whole are subject to enormous levels of unpaid overtime. This situation is untenable. Long and unmanageable working hours are the biggest single reason cited by teachers for leaving the profession.

NAO on Capital Funding for Schools

22 February 2017

Commenting on the National Audit Office’s analysis of capital funding for schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Sadly the Government’s refusal to support the real needs of schools for capital funding is typical of its overall approach to education funding. 

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Commenting on the Commons Education Committee report Recruitment and Retention of Teachers, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions. However, the increasingly unacceptable workloads have made it more and more difficult both to recruit new teachers and to prevent existing teachers leaving.

Grammar Schools

13 February 2017

Commenting on the Commons Education Committee’s Evidence Check on grammar schools, Rosamund McNeil, Head of Education at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Select Committee report shows that Theresa May’s vision for the opening of new grammar schools is not grounded in facts or evidence, and springs from a dangerously simplistic understanding of how the grammar system worked in the past. The report also makes clear that most evidence-led countries are moving away from selection, and are choosing instead to delay selection until 18.

Michael Gove on UTCs

10 February 2017

Commenting on the admission by former education secretary Michael Gove that his University Technical Colleges (UTCs) programme has failed, as expressed in today’s Times column, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

ATL/NUT survey shows that teachers reject the PRP system that is holding down their pay

10 February 2017

More teachers are being denied a pay rise due to the Government’s performance related pay (PRP) system, according to a joint survey by the NUT and ATL teacher unions published today, making it even harder for schools to recruit teachers.

Grammar Schools

9 February 2017

Commenting on a summary document of meetings between the Department for Education and the Grammar School Heads Association, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Schools across the country are crying out for sufficient funding and instead of addressing this as an urgent priority, the Secretary of State is fiddling around with secret plans for a return to a two-tier education system in which 90% of children will attend what are in effect secondary-modern schools.

New Schools Network’s Ebacc Report

8 February 2017

Commenting on the New Schools Network report The Two Cultures, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“15 months have passed since Nick Gibb launched a consultation on his proposal to extend the Ebacc to 90% of GCSE students. The consultation closed over a year ago, and the world of education is still waiting for the results. There is little doubt that these would show overwhelming opposition to Mr Gibbs’s proposals. It is surprising that rather than engaging with educational opinion, the Minister has thrown his weight behind the New School Network’s report, repeating assertions and producing alternative facts, when he should be acknowledging what teachers and head teachers are telling him.

IFS Green Budget 2017

7 February 2017

Commenting on the Institute for Fiscal Studies' Green Budget 2017, published today, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Public sector spending has already suffered brutal cuts under both George Osborne and Philip Hammond. The IFS is right to warn that cuts will continue to be felt well into the next decade.

“The cuts are widespread, hitting every aspect of our vital public services including education. We predict that if the Government remains on its present course, schools alone will lose £3bn a year in real terms by 2020.

Statement from the NUT’s General Secretary about President Trump’s travel ban

Dear colleagues,

As you will be aware many of our members have joined the protests around the country against Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the US from seven countries which have a majority Muslim population.

They will have joined those demonstrations as individuals but also as teachers they will be acutely concerned about the message this action sends to the young people they see every day.

I accepted an invitation to speak at the demonstration outside Downing Street on Monday and have also accepted an invitation to speak at the demonstration in London on Saturday. I have also signed the petition and a letter to the Guardian calling for the invitation of a state visit to be withdrawn.

I believe that Donald Trump’s actions will upset many of the children and families our members serve and have an impact on communities all over the country. I therefore strongly believe that, we must speak out – I do not believe that silence is an option.

When I spoke at Downing Street I said I was representing the biggest teachers union in Europe and wanted to explain why teachers should be involved. I said Trump was no ordinary bad politician – his policies aren’t bad immigration policies and misguided anti-terror policies. Instead his policies are aimed at stoking fear and division.

And it won’t just be migrants from some countries affected. That fear and division will come to every school and every community; so every person of good will needs to speak out. Every teacher needs to be involved – for the sake of our children.

I hope that you will support my decisions with regard to the protests and that you will support any protests that may be happening locally and encourage members to attend.

With best wishes,

Kevin Courtney,
NUT General Secretary

League Tables

1 February 2017

Commenting on data released by Education DataLab, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The NUT has long heard anecdotal evidence that some academy chains are 'managing out' pupils to boost their position in league tables. This research from Education DataLab demonstrates categorically that these practices are rife in some schools and in some sponsored academies in particular.

5,500 schools face years of financial misery

31 January 2017

At the Education Select Committee today, Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools, admitted that 5,500 schools are on the funding “floor”.

These schools are the big losers from the proposed introduction of a National Funding Formula. They will have their cash funding cut by 3% but that is on top of an 8% real terms cut over this Parliament. If that was not difficult enough for them to manage, they will then have their income slowly squeezed for years to come as their income will not be increased in line with inflation.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

Treasury Withdraws Money for Schools

27 January 2017

Commenting on the decision by the Treasury to withdraw £384m originally intended to bankroll academy conversions, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The decision by the Treasury to claw back £384m is yet another example of the Government having no willingness to recognise the seriousness of the school funding crisis. It demonstrates not just a lack of joined up thinking, but an apparent mission to ignore a crisis which has exacerbated on their watch.

“It is obvious that the money earmarked for schools should remain available to schools. 98% of schools face real terms cuts. Unless the Government allocates more money, schools will lose £3bn a year in real terms by 2020.

“Wednesday’s debate in the House of Commons demonstrated a groundswell of concern amongst MPs about the impact of the school funding crisis. All constituencies are affected.

“The Government must reinstate this funding and use it to begin the urgent task of investing in our schools.”

School Funding Debate

25 January 2017

Welcoming the Opposition Day Debate on school funding this afternoon, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

Protest today at Education World Forum

24 January 2017

Today global education unions and civil societies are protesting at the Education World Forum (EWF) – an annual gathering of education and skills ministers from around the world. This is to raise awareness of the increasing privatisation of state education across the globe.
Time: Tuesday 24 January 2017, 11.45am onwards.
Assembly: outside Park Plaza Hotel - 200 Westminster Bridge Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7UT.
Both Kevin Courtney (NUT) and Angelo Gavrielatos (Education International) will be in attendance

League Tables

19 January 2017

Commenting on today’s release of performance tables for secondary schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

“The NUT congratulates schools on withstanding the effects of cuts and teacher shortages to achieve results that demonstrate a rise in student attainment at GCSE. But it would be a mistake to think that the Department for Education’s new progress measures, Progress 8, are a trustworthy measure of progress. Research by King’s College London, published by the NUT, shows that the vast majority of teachers question the validity of Progress 8: Key Stage 2 results for eleven year olds do not provide a reliable benchmark from which to measure progress to the age of 16. KS2 tests are not just narrowly based, but notoriously unreliable. Yet this benchmark is being used to hold schools accountable.

Social Mobility

18 January 2017

Commenting on Justine Greening's announcement of funding for six more "Opportunity Areas", in addition to those previously announced, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"The creation of 'Opportunity Areas' is an acknowledgement that schools serving disadvantaged communities need more money.

‘Fair funding’ must also mean sufficient funding, say education unions

16 January 2017

Following the publication of the Government’s final proposals for its long-awaited National Funding Formula (NFF), organisations representing school staff, teachers and leaders - ATL, GMB, NAHT, NUT, UNISON and Unite - have updated the schoolcuts.org.uk website to reflect the funding losses facing each school in England.

Mental health well being of children and young people

9 January 2017

Commenting on the pledge today by the Prime Minister to change attitudes towards the mental health issues of young people, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

School funding cuts worse than predicted. JAMs hit hardest as school budgets plummet

3 January 2017

The cuts to funding for schools in England will be worse than expected and hit hardest the children in families that are ‘just about managing’, according to the NUT and ATL.

In November 2016, the NUT and ATL predicted, when they launched the Schools Cuts website, that the Government’s long-awaited new national funding formula (NFF) would be a disaster for schools, given the real terms cuts currently being imposed. (1)

NAO on DfE Financial Statements

21 December 2016

Commenting on a report published by the National Audit Office on the Department for Education’s group financial statements, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

League Tables

15 December 2016

Commenting on the primary school performance tables published today, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The NUT warned the Government that this data would be unreliable. In May we wrote to the previous Education Secretary Nicky Morgan requesting a guarantee that no school will be held to account, or forced into becoming an academy, on the basis of the chaotic Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SAT tests.

National Funding Formula for Schools

14 December 2016

Commenting on the Education Secretary’s announcement of a consultation on the school funding system in England, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Far from being the levelling up that some councils and heads have demanded, this is a levelling down. Even the schools currently worst funded will see real terms cuts in this Parliament.

Selective Education Green Paper

13 December 2016

Commenting on the NUT’s response to the Government’s consultation on the Schools That Work for Everyone green paper, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

Joint Unions Statement on School Funding

13 December 2016

ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NUT and Voice have joined together to release a statement on education funding. The statement reads as follows:

Grammar Schools

12 December 2016

Commenting on the Education Policy Institute report Grammar Schools and Social Mobility - Further Analysis of Policy Options, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

Private School Places

9 December 2016

Commenting on the Independent Schools Council’s proposal for 10,000 places at private schools for children from low-income backgrounds, Rosamund McNeil, Head of Education at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“A system in which public funds are used to support the admittance of a small proportion of pupils from low income backgrounds into private schools is a dangerous step towards a voucher system for education. It will do absolutely nothing to improve social mobility and it will derail comprehensive education by creaming off the highest performing and most motivated pupils into the private sector. Comprehensive schools in England are highly successful, with 89% now rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

Joint Union Asbestos Committee

8 December 2016

Coroner investigating the death of retired teacher Sue Stephens rules that she died following exposure to asbestos at school

PISA 2015

6 December 2016

Commenting on the OECD’s publication of the Pisa 2015 results, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Pisa can be useful in helping to understand some of the system-wide characteristics which support learning. In this respect, PISA clearly shows that the Government’s desire to expand selective education in England will have a negative impact on equity as well as the overall quality of education. As Andreas Schleicher has made clear, ‘The highest performing education systems are non-selective and have a strong emphasis on comprehensive education. They ensure all students are expected to succeed and there is no trade-off between equity and excellence.’

Freedom of information requests to local authorities reveal glaring deficiencies in asbestos management

2 December 2016

The continuing presence of asbestos in our schools is a scandal, and the shocking lack of consistency across different local authority areas, revealed in responses to recent Freedom of Information requests, should set alarm bells ringing across central and local government.

Radio 4 documentary this Friday on supply teachers

1 December 2016

Commenting ahead of tomorrow’s BBC Radio 4 documentary Supply and Demand, looking into the world of supply teaching, Amanda Brown, Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“It is welcome that the BBC is scrutinising this issue. The money being paid by schools to supply teacher agencies has increased dramatically in recent years. A Labour Party analysis of Department for Education figures showed that schools spent £1.3bn on supply teachers in 2014/15, a rise of more than a quarter in just two years.

Ofsted Annual Report

1 December 2016

Commenting on the report, Amanda Brown, Assistant General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“At a time of austerity and school funding cuts on a scale not seen for decades, teachers should be congratulated for the hard work they have put in, against the odds, to provide a high quality education for children in England.

“Parents and carers will be shocked to hear that the recorded rate of vacancies and unfilled positions in schools has doubled since 2011, while 19 out of 30 secondary subjects are being taught by teachers without the relevant qualifications. Government needs to step up to the plate to provide the additional investment in schools in those parts of the country where difficulties in the recruitment and retention of teachers and heads is an obstacle to the high quality education we want for all children, wherever they live. Government must also accept its responsibilities to invest in local economies and ensure all secondary children have the ability to transition into a decent job or high quality training.

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools

29 November 2016

Commenting on the Government’s response to the Women and Equalities Committee report on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools, Rosamund McNeil, Head of Education and Equal Opportunities at the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“We welcome the intention to set up an advisory group and hope that proper representation is guaranteed for teachers, heads and teacher unions. It is however remarkable that Government is continuing to overlook the role of PSHE and SRE in schools. We need to invest resources and focus on developing this as a high quality subject in every school so that every child has the same chance to benefit from personal, social and health education.

Autumn Statement

23 November 2016

Commenting on the Chancellor’s statement, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Chancellor’s statement is a huge disappointment for schools and colleges. We desperately need a significant increase in education funding to protect schools and colleges against the impact of inflation and the higher pension and national insurance costs being imposed by the Government.

“The Government is not protecting education funding – it remains on course to inflict significant real terms cuts. Schools and colleges are already being hit, with job cuts and increasing class sizes. Teacher pay and conditions remain under attack, even as the recruitment and retention crisis intensifies and pupil numbers continue to rise.

School Funding

22 November 2016

NUT research based on published school funding data for 2016/17 and 2014/15 shows that 83% of schools are worse off in real terms since the Conservative Government took office.

These schools are already being forced to make cuts as their funding has not been increased sufficiently to cover inflation and cost increases including National Insurance and teachers' pension contributions.

NUT/ATL: The Top 100 MPs Worst Hit By School Cuts

16 November 2016

One week ahead of the Autumn Statement (23 November), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) are calling upon the Chancellor to urgently address the pressing issue of school funding and reverse the Government’s policy of cutting funding per pupil in real terms.

NUT and King’s College London research into Key Stage 4

14 November 2016

A new King’s College London report, commissioned by the NUT, uncovers serious problems with the EBacc, the Government's attempt to steer all schools towards a narrow range of subjects.

DfE publishes a ‘dry run’ Sector Annual Report and Accounts for Academy Schools in England

10 November 2016

Commenting on the report, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said

“The shocking figures in the Education Committee’s dry run report of the DfE’s finances underline once again why the dogma of the market and privatisation is a real threat to schools and to children’s education.

New School Cuts interactive website shows devastating effects of Government's school funding plans

4 November 2016

Disadvantaged children likely to be hit hardest by Government changes to school funding, shows new School Cuts interactive website from NUT and ATL

Schools with the most disadvantaged children are likely to face the biggest funding cuts when the Government reallocates school funding, according to calculations by the NUT and ATL.

ResPublica report into white working class achievement

31 October 2016

Commenting on the report Achieving Educational Excellence in Knowsley: A Review of Attainment, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said

"The authors of this report appear to have little or no understanding of how children learn or the incredible lengths to which teachers go day in and day out to ensure that each child achieves the best possible educational outcomes. Comparing children to Olympic cyclists shows a woeful misunderstanding of both the learning process and the complex challenges many children face that are barriers to their learning. Generational unemployment and underemployment, low wages, poverty, poor housing and hunger are the daily reality for many families in working class areas.

Education Bill Dropped

27 October 2016

Commenting on Justine Greening’s announcement that the Education for All Bill, first announced in the Queen’s Speech, has been dropped, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said

“Today’s announcement by Justine Greening is a master-class in how to bury bad news. After her predecessor’s embarrassing back-pedals over the Education for All Bill, the Government has finally decided to abandon any attempt to revise its plans for total academisation in light of widespread criticism. We congratulate all those who stood up to it.

School Census Data

27 October 2016

Commenting ahead of the Lords debate (1) on the nationality and country of birth data collection in the new school census, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union , said

Teachers leaving profession

24 October 2016

Commenting on figures in a written parliamentary answer by schools minister Nick Gibb, which show that 30% of teachers who qualified in 2010 had quit by 2015, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said

“It is deeply regrettable that so many people have chosen to leave teaching, when we need new teachers more than ever. Despite high demand, there has been a consistent shortfall in the numbers recruited to training courses since 2010. On top of this, schools are now experiencing increased difficulties in retaining staff. Ministers need to ask themselves why this is happening, and to take immediate action.

Justine Greening announcement on primary assessment

19 October 2016

Commenting on today’s Written Ministerial Statement on primary assessment, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said

“The announcement today by the new Secretary of State is a response to professional concerns raised by teachers, head teachers and the NUT. These concerns are credible and valid, and motivated by a desire to end teaching to the test and the excessive pressure on children.

Fire Safety in Schools Under Risk

17 October 2016

The National Union of Teachers and the Fire Brigade Union have today written to Justine Greening strongly criticising her Department's policy on sprinklers in schools.

Not only has the 'expectation' that sprinklers be fitted to new schools been removed from its own guidance but the Department for Education has refused to divulge which, if any, organisations supported this short-sighted and retrograde step during the recent consultation exercise. NUT and FBU have called upon the Government to be open and transparent and justify the basis upon which this decision was made.

Free school meals in small schools threatened

10 October 2016

Commenting on analysis of leaked figures from the Small School Taskforce report by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary group on School Food showing that over 2,800 schools have lost out on a total of £6.5 million in grants to support the provision of universal free school meals, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union; 

Teacher workload

10 October 2016

Commenting on the Education Policy Institute's publication Teacher workload and professional development in England's secondary schools: insights from TALIS, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

Good Morning Britain exposes the scandal behind teacher supply agencies

5 October 2016

Good Morning Britain's findings, transmitted on ITV this morning, show that £1.26 billion has been spent on supply teachers in a single year, with 30% of that going in commission to the supply agencies. This is scandalous. Equally concerning is the cost to schools of paying agencies so called 'finder's fees'. Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Each year millions of pounds of taxpayers' money intended for schools goes instead to supply teacher agencies. This isn't right.

The grip of Bridge International Academies in Uganda

Wednesday 5 October 2016

The education provided by Bridge International Academies (BIA) in Uganda disregards legal and educational standards established by the Government, according to a new study by Education International (EI). These include requirements to employ qualified teachers, observe the national curriculum and standards related to school facilities.

Justine Greening on Social Mobility

4 October 2016

Commenting on Justine Greening's announcement of targeted funding for "social mobility coldspots", as part of her speech to Conservative Party Conference, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Justine Greening's words on social mobility ring hollow. It is clear that increasing the number of selective schools will consign the majority of children to a second-tier school system.

Labour leader’s speech to Conference

28 September 2016

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party conference, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Labour’s commitment to an education service that will be well funded and resourced will certainly be welcomed. Funding is at the heart of many problems currently facing schools. Appeals to parents by head teachers to help with funding for essentials in their children’s schools are now not uncommon. This begging bowl approach to education is unacceptable. We need to invest in education, not cut it back.

Labour Party conference: Education speech

27 September 2016

Commenting on the Shadow Education Secretary’s speech, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Angela Rayner is right to highlight the real issues facing our schools and pupils. A lack of school funding is resulting in larger class sizes, subjects being cut from the curriculum, a shortage of resources and staff posts not being filled. For many young people access to university or further education is put beyond their reach purely on financial grounds. Any steps to reduce this burden on families would be most welcome.

Cost of academies survey by the Local Government Association

24 September 2016

Commenting on the LGA’s survey findings on the cost to councils of converting schools to academy status, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

Nick Gibb’s Speech

22 September 2016

Commenting on Nick Gibb’s speech at the Academy Ambassadors’ Conference, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Today Nick Gibb took the opportunity to promote the Government’s latest fad – selection by ability – to academy directors. The schools minister has explicitly encouraged introducing selection in their existing schools, the establishment of a high-ability pupil unit within their MAT, or the opening of a new selective free school.

Tim Farron’s speech to Liberal Democrat Conference

20 September 2016

Commenting on the speech, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“It is good to hear the Liberal Democrats championing comprehensive education. Tim Farron is right, what parents want is a good local school for every child, not a return to the divisive and unnecessary grammar school system. 

New Free Schools

16 September 2016

Commenting on the approval by the Department for Education of 77 new free schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"This announcement cannot hide the fact that Tory education policy is in a mess. Free schools were originally promoted as a parent-led initiative that would provide choice, but now we are seeing the dominance of the programme by just a few big academy brands. This is not innovative or evidence-led policy. In fact, there are significant concerns over the quality of many academy chains with many performing worse than local authorities.

OECD report: Education at a Glance 2016

15 September 2016

Commenting on the OECD's Education at a Glance report, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

“Today’s report reaffirms, via an analysis of European education systems, that academic selection becomes social selection.

“We hope that the new Education Minister, who is known to want to weigh up the evidence, looks carefully at the OECD’s warning against going down the grammar school route.

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