NUT on David Cameron’s address to the Conservative Party Conference

Commenting on today’s speech by the Prime Minister, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said:

"Yet again we see the myth being peddled that the academies and Free Schools programmes are the answer to a good education in this country. The Prime Minister knows just as well as his education secretary that it is good leadership, teaching and proper funding which makes a difference in schools, not its status.

"Achieving a good education for all will be directly threatened by these programmes. Free Schools have been shown to entrench social division in Sweden. The academies programme, through their admissions and exclusions policies, will also threaten a fair education for all. It is the wrong route and it is a dangerous route which could see the break up of a coherent education policy in this country, which provides for a few not the many.

"Heaping ridicule on health and safety misses the point and sends out the dangerous message that regulations are all about petty bureaucracy rather than ensuring real risks are addressed.

"The Prime Minister needs to be corrected on his perception that public sector pensions are ‘unaffordable’. The decision to cut public sector pensions is being made entirely for political, not economic reasons.

"The Government has provided no evidence that teachers’ pensions are unaffordable, and they have refused to negotiate on this matter in any meaningful fashion. The Prime Minister is right that people have a right to protest against decisions which they believe to be grossly unfair and unnecessary. Unless the Government starts to treat the issue of public sector pensions with respect and honesty then that is exactly what will happen."

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