Commenting on the 70th anniversary of the date the 1944 Education Act gained Royal assent, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“The 1944 Education Act was ground-breaking legislation which established, for the first time, a national education service of primary and secondary education, setting out a clear role for the state.
“The Act was the promise to children and young people, whatever their background, of new opportunities and life chances through access to education.
“The 1944 Act was introduced by a Conservative Coalition Government and a Conservative Education Minister. It is, therefore, deeply ironic that it is a Tory Coalition which is directly responsible for breaking that promise to children and young people.
“The education policies of today’s Tory Coalition are a litany of broken promises to children and young people.
“Our public education system is being handed over to privateers and marketeers to enable them to profit at the expense of taxpayers and our children’s future.
“The 1944 Act abolished fee paying in state schools and yet today the reality is that access to education is increasingly on the basis of parents’ ability to pay.
“The entitlements to be taught by a qualified teacher, to have access to a national curriculum and to have all barriers to achievement removed for children with SEN have all been abolished by this Tory-led Coalition.
“The anniversary of the 1944 Act is an opportunity for all politicians to reflect on whether they will choose in their manifestos for the General Election to reclaim the education promise the 1944 Act made to children and young people or continue to squander away its legacy.”
Notes to editors
The NASUWT has published a summary of the Broken Promises of the Coalition Government which can be accessed at www.nasuwt.org.uk/BrokenPromises
The NASUWT’s Cost of Education Survey, which examined the impact of the Coalition Government’s policies on children and young people, can be found at www.nasuwt.org.uk/CostofEducation
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