99% of schools face cuts with an average of minus £107,754 per primary school and £470,433 per secondary school. It is a scandal and has to be fought, writes Nick Jones.
Hundreds of teachers have gathered in Cardiff for the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers. Conference was addressed by Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP. He pledged the full support of the Labour Party in the campaign against cuts. He stated:
‘I know what this means in practice. My eldest daughter is a teacher. My wife’s an educational psychologist. I know what it means on a daily basis. It means teachers now being laid off. It means recruitment freezes, and it means yes, inevitably larger class sizes. Already half a million of our children are now being taught in classes of over thirty. It means more intense pressure on every teacher.’
The impact of inflation and extra costs, such as higher employer national insurance contributions, means a real term fall of 8% per pupil. The 2017 National Audit Office report states that mainstream schools will have to make £3 billion in ‘efficiency savings’ by 2019-20.
Cuts means larger classes – less time for pupils and increased workload for teachers. Less money for books, resources and equipment when pupils face new GCSEs. Some schools have cut support staff or their terms and conditions of equality employment. Some schools are even asking parents to make financial contributions.
The NUT will be seeking to organise a national demonstration, alongside other education unions, political parties, parents’ organisations and others. The NUT will be seeking to call strike action in schools and local authorities where cuts threaten jobs.
It is important that we make education a priority campaign. Billions in tax cuts have been given to the wealthiest in the UK. The money is there to fund education. The Tories don’t expect their children to be left in crammed classrooms with old out-of-date text books and resources. Public school Eton boasts class sizes of 8, with 70 musicians, librarians, computing experts and technicians who provide the support essential to any teaching and learning.
We urge Left Unity supporters to get involved in the education campaign in your area.
Find out about the cuts in your area by going to www.schoolcuts.org.uk. Make links with teacher unions and other groups – organise a meeting and campaign. The government has the money and children deserve better. Campaign locally, unite with others and we can win.
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