NEU comment on upcoming general election

The UK’s main parties are preparing for a general election which will take place on 12 December

It has only been two-and-a-half years since the last general election, but after MPs supported a pre-Christmas election British voters will be heading back to the polls.

Commenting on the election, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“There is a huge choice for education at this election. Be under no illusion – schools and colleges are in a dire situation, and real solutions are needed.

“When casting their vote, we will ensure that parents, teachers, school leaders and the general public are in full possession of the facts, not the spin.

“The Prime Minister has pledged to ‘level up’ school funding so that there are ‘no winners or losers’. He knows full well that the amount he has promised goes nowhere near to fixing the roof: 83% of schools next April will be worse off than they were in 2015, and children in 143 out of 149 local authorities are still losing out.

“Schools need a significant funding increase now, not the dribs and drabs promised from April 2020. Schools are losing support staff, dropping subjects, closing early, and cutting corners on basic maintenance, just to get by. Parents understand why this is the case. Schools currently face a further six months of this appalling status quo.

“The accountability culture is now toxic. Ofsted judgements and SATs results give narrow and in too many instances inaccurate information to parents and government about the standards of education. The additional workload and stress they generate is one of the main reasons given by teachers for leaving the profession. That is why Ofsted and SATs must be replaced by a new system of accountability and assessment which gives a true picture of schools, colleges and students. This will rejuvenate the education system and go some way to reducing the crisis in recruitment and retention.

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“Teachers encounter the effects of child poverty every day, but the present Government appears unwilling to prioritise the most vulnerable in society. The Conservatives have got rid of the target to end child poverty, despite 4.1m children still trapped in poverty and this figure expected to rise to 5.2m by 2022. In one of the richest countries on the globe, we must and can do better – and expect this to be reflected in party manifestos.

“If you value education, you must vote for education.”

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