NUT on the OECD Report: Education at a Glance 2013

Commenting on the report, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

‘The purpose of education is to help every child to develop their full potential. For this to happen we need to ensure that there is a broad and balanced curriculum in every school. The OECD report clearly shows that those countries which have a strong combination of both academic and vocational subjects alongside quality apprenticeships schemes equip children far better for both life and the workplace. Michael Gove urgently needs to take heed of this when considering his reforms to the curriculum. The days of being able to get by with rote learning in traditional subjects is long gone.

‘The importance of continuing to recruit and retain well qualified teachers is a theme which runs throughout the report and is something this Government needs to take on board. Allowing unqualified teachers in our classrooms is a policy that parents do not welcome. This is particularly important given that the UK has higher pupil:teacher ratios than the OECD average at both primary and secondary levels.

‘The report should be used to inform the Government’s plans for the early years. It finds, for instance, that the UK’s current ratios, which are near the OECD average, have been achieved through using support staff rather than teaching staff and that both ratios and qualifications of staff are indicators of quality. The OECD also makes the point that governments cannot simply expand access to early years provision. It has to be of a high quality standard if it is to have impact on educational outcomes as well as supporting women into work.

‘It is evident from the findings of Education at a Glance that without investment in relevant education for all young people there are significant social, health and economic consequences for them and society as a whole. It is to be hoped that we will not see the education budget cut tomorrow. At times of economic recession it is now more important than ever for investment in education’.

ENDS

For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061