NUT comment from TUC Congress on State Education, Free Schools, Academies and Privatisation

Commenting on the debate on education, Composite 11, at the TUC Congress, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said this:

“The NUT believes that the Government’s academies and Free School programme, alongside further measures in the Education Bill currently making its way through Parliament, are undermining local authorities’ role in education, fragmenting state education and diverting money away from existing schools.

“While Ed Miliband’s reassurances at TUC Congress that schools should not be run for profit is welcome, there is still a misapprehension that academies improve educational standards. There is no evidence that this is the case and the Labour leader, alongside the Government, needs to stop peddling this myth. The academies and Free Schools programme is about privatisation, not standards.

“We need to see a return to education policies which result in a good local school for every child working within the local authority family of schools.”

Nina Franklin, NUT National President, speaking on Free Schools at TUC Congress said;

“Free Schools are the latest and worst attack on education. They take away the community school’s capacity to educate pupils in a local area. Free Schools have a huge effect on the funding of education. The Government uses taxpayers’ money to give to elite groups of parents, and others, to provide education.

“Free Schools completely disrupt what is happening locally and can also have a huge effect on teachers’ pay and conditions, which we fought for many years to win and to preserve, and don’t even need to have a qualified teacher teaching a class of children.

“In the NUT we believe that local authorities are best placed to provide oversight of schools and to ensure that education is democratically provided.

“It’s an old phrase that we use that ‘education should be a right not a privilege’, but the old ones are the best. Education should be a right and not a privilege.”

END pr121-2011
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