Press releases - England

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Press Officer

National Union of Teachers
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Email: press@nut.org.uk
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England

NUT survey: SATs having damaging consequences for both children and schools

25 June 2017

The SATs effect: teachers’ verdict – Summer Term 2017, a survey of 2,300 National Union of Teachers primary members (attached), shows that the vast majority of teachers believe the primary assessment system is broken. The survey shows a widespread lack of confidence in the Government’s system of assessment and accountability as it affects our youngest pupils, as well as a growing conviction that it needs fundamental change with:

Schools increasingly using unqualified staff to cover teacher absence

24 June 2017

This Saturday’s annual NUT Supply Teacher Conference will hear that employment prospects for supply teachers are getting tougher, as schools increasingly use unqualified staff in place of qualified supply teachers to cover teacher absence.

The NUT’s 2017 supply teacher survey, which received a record 1,300 responses, shows that 41% of agency supply teachers say that getting work is becoming increasingly hard – up from 35% last year. Less than one third of agency teachers (32%) say they can get work almost every day – down from just over half last year – while 39% can only get work about half the time, and more than one in ten are being offered no work for weeks at a time.  (1)

Joint statement on Queen’s speech from ATL, ASCL, NAHT and NUT

21 JUNE 2017

Responding to the Queen’s Speech today and the announcement of the Government’s legislative programme for the next two years, ASCL, ATL, NAHT and NUT issued this joint statement:

“The Government is not listening to voters. The General Election campaign showed that education funding is a key priority for the electorate, with over three quarters of a million people changing the way they voted because of the issue.

NUT, FBU , ATL warn Government of current fire risks in schools

20 June 2017

Today the Fire brigades Union (FBU), National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers ( ATL ) have written to Justine Greening  seeking urgent reassurances about fire safety in schools in light of the tragic and avoidable fire at Grenfell Tower last week.

NUT very proud to have Amanda Brown elected onto ILO’s governing body

13 June 2017

Amanda Brown, NUT Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has been elected onto the governing body of the International Labour Organisation, workers' group. This is the first time that a woman has been elected to this post from the UK trade union movement.

Letter to the Prime Minister from teaching unions

11 June 2017

This election has been a defining moment for education.

The Conservatives have already cut £2.8 billion from our schools and their manifesto promises a further £8.9 billion cut to school funding. We can’t let this happen.

The ATL, NAHT and the NUT have written to the Prime Minister asking for a meeting to discuss the school funding crisis in our schools.

 

School cuts a priority after the election

7 June 2017

The problems for our schools are very real and very immediate, ranging from no money for glue sticks right up to considering closing earlier in the day simply to save money. All parties should commit to tackling this growing crisis.

The joint union website www.schoolcuts.org.uk has been highlighting the extent of the problem. With 93% of schools affected by the current funding proposals, there is scarcely a school or sixth form in the land that won’t be worse off. Parents have been incredulous and dismayed at the begging letters for money or resources that head teachers have been forced to send out.  

This is no way to run an education system.

Amber Rudd admits on Woman’s Hour per-pupil funding in England will not go up

Amber Rudd admits on Woman’s Hour per-pupil funding in England will not go up

Commenting on Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s admission* that a Conservative Government will not increase per pupil funding in England, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

Birmingham schools set to lose nearly £95m

Teachers’ union unveils billboard on M6 setting out scale of education cuts to Birmingham schools

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is today launching a billboard on Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction warning of school cuts. Under Conservative plans, £94,086,361 will be taken out of Birmingham’s schools budget in real terms between now and 2021/22.

The www.schoolcuts.org.uk website reveals what the three main political party pledges on education funding will mean for education in England.

The Conservative education plans would result in an £8.9billion real terms cut in education by 2022 when taking into account inflation and growing pupil numbers.

new video from NUT revealing the scale of cuts went viral when launched just over a week ago. It has now been viewed over 4 million times.

NUT/YouGov Polls of Parents and Teachers Reveal Growing Crisis in Schools

Saturday 3 June 2017

Parents put education at the heart of the General Election. More than two in five (43%) parents with children aged 4-18 consider education and school funding as an important issue in deciding how they’ll vote.

  • 60% of teachers report increased class sizes since the last General Election in 2015
  • Over a third of teachers (36%) report that teacher numbers have decreased at their school in the last two years.
  • Over 3.5million watch NUT campaign video in just five days.

Election Promises On School Funding – Do The Party Pledges Cut It?

Sunday 28 May 2017

Today’s major relaunch of the School Cuts website shows what the manifestos of the main political parties will mean for every individual school in England. Building on recent analyses by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Education Policy Institute, the interactive map at http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk makes it possible to see what the party pledges look like at a local level, not just as national statistics.

With less than two weeks to the General Election this is a critical time for schools and colleges. We don’t know who will win the election but we do know what education funding will look like under each of the parties, should they be successful.

The ATL, NUT and GMB have updated the www.schoolcuts.org.uk website to reflect what the three main political party pledges on education funding will mean for education in England.

    Green Party Manifesto

    22 May 2017

    Commenting on the Green Party manifesto for the General Election, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “We welcome manifesto commitments from the Green Party, for education and young people, which chime with long-standing beliefs held by the NUT. The Greens offer clear, unambiguous pledges that would benefit pupils, parents and teachers alike.

    Labour’s Tuition Fees Pledge

    22 May 2017

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

    “The National Union of Teachers welcomes the Labour Party's ‪commitment today that students starting university this September will escape tuition fees.

    Conservative Manifesto

    18 May 2017

    Commenting on the election manifesto published today by the Conservative Party, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “The Conservatives’ headline pledge to give £4 billion to schools is an inadequate response to the funding crisis and a misleading presentation. Instead they are actually promising to give only £1 billion per year, which is clearly not enough when schools are facing a £3bn real terms cut in their funding. In contrast the Liberal Democrats are pledging to put in £3 billion per year and Labour £6.3 billion per year by 2020/21. The difference is stark.

    Liberal Democrats’ Manifesto

    17 May 2017

    Commenting on the election manifesto published today by the Liberal Democrats, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: 

    Teachers Leaving Profession

    16 May 2017

    Commenting on an analysis by the NFER, based on 2010/15 data, which shows that the proportion of teachers leaving the profession is as much as 1 in 10 for academic subjects such as science, maths and languages, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “Too many teachers feel overworked and undervalued - and growing numbers are leaving. Ministers remain in denial, and the problems of staffing are worsening year on year. Of the 21,400 teachers who started working in English state schools in 2010, over 6400 (30%) had quit by 2015. And for the fourth year in succession, targets for teacher training take-up have not been met.

    Labour Manifesto

    16 May 2017

    Commenting on the launch of the Labour Party manifesto for the 2017 General Election, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: 

    “This manifesto puts down a marker on school funding and demonstrates that Labour is listening. The funding crisis affects 99% of schools and has forced head teachers to put banners up in playgrounds to alert parents to the risks of deep cuts and what it means for their child. 

    Unions ask Parliamentary candidates to pledge to raise school funding

    14 May 2017

    The NUT, ATL , NAHT and GMB are asking every candidate in every constituency in England and Wales to promise that they will address the funding crisis in our schools, which will see schools facing cuts of up to £3 billion a year by 2020.

    Liberal Democrats General Election School Funding Pledge

    10 May 2017

    Commenting on the additional funding for schools and colleges promised by the Liberal Democrats, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: 

    “The Liberal Democrats’ promise of £7bn to protect per-pupil funding levels will be welcomed by parents and teachers. It shows that they are listening to the thousands of heads and parents who have been writing to Theresa May, highlighting the serious consequences of an underfunded education system. We await the details in their manifesto.

    Labour Party education funding promise

    10 May 2017

    Commenting on the Labour Party’s promise to put additional money into schools and colleges, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: 

    “Parents and teachers will strongly welcome the fact that the Labour Party has grasped the enormity of the problem schools and colleges face through drastic real terms cuts to their budgets. 

    Primary Assessment – Select Committee Report

    1 May 2017

    Commenting on the report by the Commons Education Select Committee report Primary AssessmentKevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: 

    MPs damning report into free schools

    26 April 2017

    Commenting on the report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into free schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “The NUT has been raising the same concerns about free schools as the PAC report for years. The Government has wreaked havoc on the education system in England through its pursuit of this policy against all the evidence.

    Labour Party on class sizes and school funding

    21 April 2017

    Commenting on Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn’s speech, Amanda Brown, Assistant General Secretary, National Union of Teachers said:

    “Jeremy Corbyn is right that school funding is resulting in increased class sizes. It is also impacting negatively on the overall educational experience schools can afford to offer children and young people. All political parties need to be aware this will be a huge issue during the General Election.

    School Funding – Government must come clean before the Election

    20 April 2017

    Commenting on the crisis in school funding, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “As we are now entering in to a General Election, the time for half-truths about school funding is over. The National Funding Formula Stage 2 consultation for mainstream and special schools closed on 22 March. The NUT has written to Justine Greening asking for the publication of a summary of the responses.

    ‘Already we have head teachers resigning, sending begging letters to parents and  lobbying MPs and the Prime Minister on the disastrous effect a lack of funding is having on their pupils. The Education Secretary cannot go into this election without letting families know what will happen with the funding of their children’s schools. The NUT awaits a response to our letter.”

    Announcement of a General Election

    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.” 

    Grammar Schools

    13 April 2017

    Commenting on the Education Secretary's announcement that grammar schools will help 'ordinary working families' , Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said;

    "At a time of a school funding and teacher recruitment and retention crisis it is ridiculous that Justine Greening is concentrating on the expansion of grammar schools. They will do nothing for social mobility; creating a raft of secondary modern schools in their wake and returning England to a two tier education system that was deemed unfit decades ago.

    Free Schools

    12 April 2017

    Commenting on the latest announcement from Government of approval for another 131 free schools to open in England, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “At a time when the majority of schools are struggling to survive the decision to pour tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money into free schools, for some to be sponsored by grammar schools is indefensible. Clearly the Government has no concern whatsoever about the hundreds of head teachers and the thousands of parents that have spoken out against school funding cuts.

    Schools having to prioritise cost-cutting over quality of children’s education - finds ATL/NUT survey

    10 April 2017

    Funding pressures are already biting in schools in England, affecting the quality of children’s education, and parents are being asked to make up the shortfall according to a joint survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT).

    One respondent, a teacher in a primary school in Essex, said: “Over the last two years, the ethos of the school has changed from being based on a family atmosphere to being driven by cost cutting”.

    Free School Meals

    6 April 2017

    Commenting on the Labour Party pledge to expand free school meals to every primary school pupil, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “This is a good idea from the Labour Party.  All too often teachers see the impact that hunger has on their pupils. It affects their concentration and ability to learn and their physical and mental health and wellbeing. The benefits of a healthy and nutritious school lunch are well documented and for the 4 million children living in poverty – nine pupils in every class of 30 – this may well be their main meal of the day. 

    “At a time when yet more families are affected by cuts to benefits, and in-work poverty is soaring, the cost of school lunches can be prohibitive. Universal free school meals would ensure that all children have a meal in the middle of the day, bringing health and educational benefits. It would reduce the stigma attached to free school meals and would cut down on administration for schools. While this initiative will make a big difference to the lives of pupils, all political parties need to commit to ensuring overall school budgets are increased to stem the funding crisis they are currently facing.”

    Supreme Court ruling on school term holidays

    6 April 2017

    Commenting on the ruling against the parent Jon Platt, who had won earlier legal battles against a £120 fine after a taking his child on holiday without permission, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “Parents generally do all they can to keep children in school and teachers want them to do that. However there will be occasions when families will have  a planned holiday in term time. This can be for a many reasons such as family commitments or parents unable to take leave in the school holidays.

    Fining parents is entirely the wrong route to be going down. Many parents will be able to afford the fine and it will not be a deterrent. This is yet another example of top down measures being imposed on schools causing unnecessary tensions between head teachers and families.

    Apprenticeship levy will push more school budgets to breaking point, warn education unions

    6 April 2017

    From today (Thursday 6th April) thousands of schools across the country will start to pay into the apprenticeship levy. The compulsory payment will have to be paid by most schools, with only small stand-alone academies exempt.

    Rochford Review

    31 March 2017

    Commenting on the consultation announced yesterday by the Department for Education on the final recommendations of the Rochford Review, about statutory assessment for pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “The Government has put out two important consultations this week. Teachers now have 12 weeks to consider and comment on the changes proposed.

    Primary Assessment

    30 March 2017

    Commenting on the launch of a new consultation on primary assessment, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “Our current primary assessment system is broken. Almost 50% of 11 year olds were labelled failures last year as a result of badly designed and poorly implemented tests. Our members want a system that supports children to achieve their potential, gives useful information to parents and teachers and does not narrow the school curriculum.

    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.

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