NUT: Free Schools to open in warehouses

Commenting on changes to the planning rules to be announced today which will allow free schools to open in commercial and industrial buildings without planning permission, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Government’s latest announcement demonstrates that it is prepared to put its own ideological interests ahead of the health, safety or well-being of children.  It is the right of every child to attend a school that is in suitable premises that are fit for purpose and where their health and safety can, as far as possible, be assured.

“Parents will not consider these aims to be bureaucratic ‘red tape’ but sensible measures to ensure their children are properly safeguarded whilst at school. That is why we have planning and health and safety laws in place and why Councils are charged with making these judgements about the suitability of premises before planning permission is granted.

“We seem to be sliding down a slippery slope where the Government’s obsession with opening academies and free schools at any cost now overrides any sensible approach to school place planning, the welfare of children or the best approach to securing the best possible education for all our children.

“This Government is demonstrating no respect whatsoever for state education. Not only do they believe it is unnecessary for pupils to be taught by qualified teachers but also that they do not deserve to be taught in decent buildings.

“As a society we should have decent state schools with the space and facilities that befit the twenty-first century. The Prime Minister needs to intervene and remind his Secretary of State for Education and his Communities Secretary that when it comes to education, the children come first, not political ambitions and the desire to secure a quick headline.”

END    pr12-2013                                                   
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