We need to improve our society in order to support our education system – NUT Cymru

8 February 2016

NUT Cymru has called for a widening of the debate around what impacts on educational attainment as we approach the Welsh election. The largest Union for qualified teachers in Wales says that teachers and schools are working as hard as possible but unless the other fundamental issues in our society are tackled they will always be facing an uphill challenge. The Union has made some key recommendations to start the discussion.

  • Achievable and realistic targets should be set, and adhered to, for ending child poverty.
  • Funding for the pupil deprivation grant must be continued, and where possible, increased.
  • Free school meals and breakfast should continue. They must be delivered through additional funding to that which is provided for education in schools.
  • The Education Maintenance Allowance must be protected.
  • The Welsh Government should make reducing youth unemployment a high priority.

NUT Cymru, David Evans, said:

"One of the key points Professor Donaldson made consistently in his review of the curriculum in Wales was that children spend the vast majority of their time outside the school environment. It is of course absolutely essential that we get the conditions within our schools right and support teachers in every aspect of their work. However, we cannot escape the fact that outside influences play a significant role in children’s development and ultimately their educational attainment.

"For education in Wales to truly reach world class standards, we must have a holistic approach. What the NUT Cymru Manifesto focusses on is getting to grips with those issues that help and hinder the ability of pupils to make the best of their potential. We want to see a realistic approach to tackling child poverty and a continuation of some of the positive policies which we know already make a difference.

"Hopefully this will spark a debate around these issues with a greater appreciation of how and why the challenges children face in our society play a role in their education."