Nick Morgan’s announcement shows muddled thinking

Commenting on today’s announcement from Nicky Morgan, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“No-one is more committed to raising the standards of education than teachers and school leaders. They are the last people to be complacent about pupils’ attainment and achievement.

“However they are increasingly being distracted by the latest muddled thinking to emanate from Government ministers.

“Today’s announcement on testing and the promised review and consultation staggeringly seems set to sideline the views of those who actually teach the pupils in favour of simply taking a management perspective. Teachers’ views must be at the heart of the consultation.

“The plans to use academy chains to drive up standards is nothing more than yet another strategy to seek to promote and impose the Government’s ideological academisation programme, despite the fact that there is no evidence that this raises standards.

“With regards to the proposed National Teacher Service, the Government already has one of these in the thousands of teachers who work every day in schools across the country.

Yet they are unfortunately neglected by a Government which pays no regard to ensuring they are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals, and have pay and conditions to enable them to focus on teaching and learning.

“Instead, they are overworked, underpaid and undervalued.

“The discreet National Teacher Service proposed today is not without merit, but is in fact nothing more than a rehash of a system which was in place under a previous government and which this Government abolished.

“The Government has been repeatedly warned by the NASUWT about the adverse impact of the EBacc on the breadth and balance of the national curriculum.

“Today’s announcement to make it compulsory will exacerbate the already evident problems that far too many children and young people are being denied the opportunity to study a broad and balanced range of subjects, particularly creative subjects such as music, art and drama.

“This was a consequence of the Government’s flawed policy of giving excessive freedom to academies and free schools, freedom which today’s announcement now seeks to curtail and is clearly an admission of yet another failed policy.”