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:
“The Liberal Democrats, like Labour, have grasped the seriousness of the unprecedented funding crisis in schools in England by making a significant promise to invest £7 billion extra in education. We want parents to keep up the pressure to ensure every party commits to an increase in funding for schools. Our http://www.schoolcuts.org.ukcampaign is stirring thousands of volunteers into action.
“The pledge to triple the value of the Early Years pupil premium is very welcome. The present disparity between the Early Years pupil premium and primary school pupil premium is clearly unfair. Supporting children from more disadvantaged backgrounds is a vital part of the mission of Early Years education and care, but such an investment would need to be part of a larger plan to increase Early Years funding to ensure better qualifications across the sector and qualified teachers in all nursery schools and classes.
“The commitment to make policy which generates a truly rounded curriculum including the arts, sport and culture is a step change which is desperately needed. The future of work and society is changing. The Liberal Democrats’ plans for education are offering a wider vision in which teachers can meet the needs of the child not the demands of a test.
“The Liberal Democrats have rejected gimmicks like grammar schools and opted for education plans that matter such as promising Qualified Teacher Status for every teacher and a properly funded entitlement to high quality professional development. They promise to invest in the standing and skills of the profession and to end the 1% pay cap. This education manifesto values teachers and their contribution to the next generation. It recognises the problematic nature of teacher workload and the narrowing of learning because of high-stakes tests at age 11.
“The NUT is asking all candidates to pledge to increase school spending through the joint union web site www.schoolcuts.org.uk. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have now done so. We will wait to hear from other parties about their position on this critical issue.”