Commenting after the debate on Motion 16, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The wheels are quite clearly coming off many of the Coalition Government’s education policies. Michael Gove finally listened to sense and scrapped his plans for the English Baccalaureate Certificates, which would have replaced GCSEs in some subjects. This was a victory for all who have campaigned against this ill-thought-out reform, in particular the NUT.
“The Department for Education has now rowed back its A-Bacc league table proposals. Now the published measure will include numbers of sixth-form students who achieve AAB in two “facilitating” or “E-Bacc” A Level subjects, rather than three as originally proposed.
“What drew together such a wide and disparate coalition was Mr Gove’s vision of education.
“Plans to get rid of AS Levels and bring in a curriculum in which ‘academic rigour’ is all, and where creative and vocational education has very little place, have been roundly condemned. Music and sport provision in schools has been cut. The budget for local authority provided SEN support in schools has also been severely curtailed.
“After getting rid of the Building Schools for the Future programme, the Coalition’s watered down and more limited programme of school refurbishments has ground to a halt.
“The academies and free schools programme is proving to be a modern version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, as we always knew it would be. Out of the nine new free schools eligible for inspection by Ofsted, three ‘required improvement’. If such a report were given to local authority maintained schools, they would be forced to accept academy status.
“There is a severe shortage of school places, yet this Government is sanctioning the opening of free schools in areas where there is no demand for additional places and eating up scarce funding in the process.
“Sixth form colleges are facing severe budget cuts which will worsen the breadth of education they can provide. The ending of the Educational Maintenance Allowance and the raising of tuition fees has taken access to education and social mobility back half a century.
“The NUT will do all it can to raise awareness of this Coalition Government’s disgraceful mismanagement of state education and campaign tirelessly to keep it in public hands.”
For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061