This Government has said that its austerity driven cuts will not affect the teacher in the classroom.
This is simply untrue. Many of North Yorkshire schools have to make large numbers of teachers and support staff redundant right now. In particular, secondary schools have found that due to Government actions they are in deficit to the tune of £200,000, £300,000, £400,000 and more. The only way they can see to balance the books is to reduce the number of teachers and support staff. Fewer teachers mean larger classes and reduced choice in the curriculum for our children. Converting to an academy makes no difference in practice it can make things worse.
How has this happened? This Government has cut the funding to schools for sixth form students by £1,300 per student. George Osborne is the first chancellor in history to force individual schools to find the increase in the employers’ contribution to National Insurance and superannuation from school funds. This is effectively a tax on teachers’ jobs.
The Local Education Authority has done all it can financially but between 2011 and 2015 has suffered a £91.1 million cut in its funding. Head teachers are doing what they can but many of them feel they cannot maintain a balanced curriculum into the future, negatively impacting on students’ life chances.
The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world and one of the richest nations and yet large corporations pay little if any tax when schools are in deficit. All this is happening when there is a crisis in school places as the numbers in primary schools increase at the same time as a teacher recruitment crisis. This Government’s own chief ofsted inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has expressed his concerns on recruitment. Even some Tory back benchers, such as the MP for Malton and Thirsk Kevin Hollinrake, are calling for this Government to make a U-turn on education policy.
This Tory Government continues to renege on its responsibilities to the people of Britain; as it privatises the NHS through expensive outside contracts, gives £4 billion a year of tax payers money to the private rail franchises, develops a regressive tax system that sees the rich pay less and the poor more, watches the nation’s roads and infrastructure deteriorate rapidly and now denies the country’s children the qualified teachers they need. As some back benchers are saying, we need a change, but we need it today, we can’t wait any longer.
The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers