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Parents should be angry…. with Michael Gove

o17-7_0Today I am in Durham to address the People’s Assembly as teachers across the country are on strike over pay, pensions and conditions. Parents are right to be angry. No teacher wants to go on strike; they know the disruption it causes to families and most importantly the children. However, while Ministers are on TV, attacking the teaching profession yet again and trying to turn parents against those who educate their children, I am supporting teachers.

There is no need for this strike. It could have been averted by the Education Secretary Michael Gove, returning to the negotiating table to hear the concerns of teachers. However, he refuses to talk to teachers stating that his views on the substantive issues are fixed.

Coalition Government cuts have seen thousands of teaching posts lost and as a result class sizes are rising once again within our schools. The number of primary school classes with more than 30 pupils has more than doubled in recent years, and recent changes have also seen an increase in the number of unqualified people teaching pupils instead of qualified teachers.

The Government’s attempts to plug the gaps impacts directly on students who are not receiving the individual support and attention they deserve, teachers’ workloads are increasing, and there are warnings of a school places shortage.

Morale in the teaching profession is at an all time low, affecting recruitment and retention. Teacher training applications have declined sharply, and over half of teachers are considering quitting the profession.

At a time when we need more teachers, the Government, and particularly the Education Secretary Michael Gove has targeted teachers, attacking their profession, pay, pensions and conditions.

Instead of supporting existing schools and teachers, Michael Gove has directed his efforts towards free schools. Free schools receive state funding, but are not accountable to local authorities or the community who have no say whether or where free schools should open. Where there is a school place shortage, we have seen that free schools have not been the solution with many of them opening in areas where there is a surplus of school places.

Free schools have been unaffected by budget cuts, receiving a disproportionate share of capital and revenue funding at the expense of local schools, despite the fact they are educating only a tiny proportion of all students.

Today parents should be angry, they should be angry about an Education Secretary whose confrontational and unyielding approach is causing chaos in our schools. His approach is undermining the teaching profession and the educational opportunities available to our children.

One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    I would back them, they did not have a strike in my area everyone was in work schools were open.
    I’m a member of the GMB so for me once a ballot is done and the strike called I will back it, that’s because people have decided.

    But you know something Labour are now backing the Tories over free schools and labour will be telling us at next conference they will fix education the NHS and employment, the same as every party has done since the 1900.

    New labour made a mess the Tories will make a bigger one and if Newer labour get back in god help us all.

    I do not trust politicians what we need is to get teachers around a table and work out a new method of teaching and get one with it.

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