MEMBERS of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) will be holding a street stall in Stroud High Street this Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm to share their concerns about the impact of Government policy on local education to the attention of the public.
This is one of a series of such stalls to be held around the County and elsewhere in the South West. NUT Regional Secretary, Andy Woolley, who is co-ordinating the campaign explained that “the Union is not just concerned about the impact of changes to teachers’ pay, pension and workload which he says are significant and impact on a large turnover rate amongst qualified teachers but also about the significant impact of Government policy on children’s education.
This is evident in Gloucestershire area with attempts to force schools to become academies and the possible establishment of unnecessary Free Schools at considerable expense and at a time when such schools are increasingly involved in scandals over financial improprieties and mismanagement as well as evidence showing that schools that remain under Local Authority control are now producing better results than those in the academy and Free School system so beloved of Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education”.
“We believe the Coalition Government’s policies threaten the standard of education in all our schools and colleges. For instance Academies and free schools are now allowed to employ unqualified teachers. This is a big threat to standards of education and we need to ensure that every classroom has a qualified teacher all the time.”
“We need to allow councils to open new schools where they are needed. There is a huge pupil place shortage but councils are not allowed to open new schools. Many councils are driven to putting portacabins on school playgrounds to cope. The Government only allows new “free” schools and these are often in the wrong place.”
“The Government should make sure changes to the curriculum and exams are positive and planned. Rushed changes are stressful for children as well as their teachers and, indeed, their parents. The Government should start listening to what teachers and education experts say. It should work with them to develop an exciting and inspiring curriculum that equips children for the modern world.”
“We need to ensure there are enough new teachers and stop picking fights with the ones we’ve got. Michael Gove keeps criticising teachers and, as a result, morale is plummeting. Five years after qualifying, 2 in every 5 teachers are no longer teaching. On top of that the current system of training teachers is under-recruiting. Instead of dealing with this, Michael Gove keeps attacking our teachers, who are forced to strike to defend themselves and education.”
“Finally, we must get our schools working together and fund them properly. The evidence shows that schools working together is best for all children. Financial scandals at free schools show the dangers of privatisation. On top of this fragmentation, school 6th forms and 6th form colleges are facing 20% cuts while £1.7 billion has been allocated to wasteful and unnecessary free schools.”