NASUWT COMMENTS ON THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S SPEECH TO THE LONDON ACADEMY OF EXCELLENCE
Commenting on the Secretary of State’s speech to the London Academy of Excellence, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The Secretary of State’s much-hyped speech actually contained very little that was new or substantive.
“The Secretary of State focused on his desire to support children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve success. This ambition is shared by the whole teaching profession.
“Unfortunately, the reality of the impact of the Coalition’s education and social policies on disadvantaged pupils does not match the Secretary of State’s rhetoric.
“Thousands more children and young people have been plunged into poverty or have become homeless under the Coalition Government.
“Poverty and homelessness are critical barriers to educational achievement. They cannot be brushed aside and ignored by politicians. Our schools recognise the importance of overcoming these barriers and strive to do so but they cannot do this alone.
“Narrowing the curriculum, removing the entitlement for all children to be taught by a qualified teacher and increasing the financial barriers to access further and higher education hits those from disadvantaged backgrounds hardest.
“Michael Gove’s contribution to improving the life chances of disadvantaged children and young people will be judged by his deeds, not his words.
“The Secretary of State concluded his speech by thanking the nation’s teachers.
“Teachers need more than warm words from the Secretary of State.
“The best thanks he could give to all the dedicated and hard-working teachers who are delivering high-quality education day-in, day-out in our public education service would be to cease his relentless attacks on their professionalism, pay and conditions of service which have resulted in applications for teacher training plummeting, resignations rising and well over half of teachers seriously considering leaving the profession.”