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.
“This indicates a much better understanding of what's happening in our schools than the constant assertion by the Conservatives of the half- truth that ‘funding has never been higher’. While that is the case it disguises the fact that we have more pupils than ever before and that school running costs are running far ahead of funding, as demonstrated by the thousands of teachers, head teachers, parents and school governors who have written to the Prime Minister or held local meetings to raise awareness of the problems. It is simply not right that parents are being sent begging letters for money, that our pupil’s subject choices are being cut back, and their class sizes increased due to cuts to school staff and teachers.
“The commitments to funding for 16-19 education are very welcome – this area was hard hit during the last two Parliaments. Promising real class size limits in infant classes is another step in the right direction.
“Putting measures in place to address issues of inequality which arise when families face financial hardship, such as providing free school meals for primary school children and restoring the educational maintenance allowance, will certainly help to ensure that family circumstances do not hold back any pupil.
“The NUT is asking all parties to do as the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have and commit to school budgets which are sufficient to ensure a good, well-rounded education for every child. A world-class education system cannot be achieved on the cheap.
“Without additional funding state education will be second rate at best and will fail many of our children and young people. We ask all politicians who tell us that education is too expensive not to ask us to try ignorance as an alternative.”