15 April 2015
Commenting on the launch of the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto for the General Election, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Manifestos can be swept aside in coalition, as we have seen, but we welcome the Liberal Democrats’ prioritisation of education funding.
“We also welcome the Liberal Democrats' commitment to putting a qualified teacher in every classroom. The Government sent out a terrible message to teachers in training when it removed the requirement for QTS in 2012. The NUT wants to see every child taught by a qualified teacher, for every lesson, every day, and we know that the vast majority of parents agree with us.
“Education spending should be a priority of any Government, but it is an inescapable fact that the Coalition Government did not protect it and the Liberal Democrats reneged on their tuition fee pledge.
“It is a matter of urgency that whichever party or parties forms the next government restores education funding in England and Wales to the levels necessary to protect education funding in real terms, taking account of increases in pupil numbers and cost pressures including the impact of pension contribution and NI increases. It is imperative that any new Government restores the funding lost, including in post-16 education and local authority education services. It must restore the cuts in teachers’ pay since 2010. Securing funding and VAT parity for sixth form colleges is desperately needed. We also need to increase education funding to the levels needed to secure a first class education system.
“With a shortage of school places, and a developing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, there can be no greater priority for our politicians than to address the problems in education funding.”