Commenting on the Conservative Party winning the General Election, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“Prime Minister Johnson's government inherits a daunting ‘To Do’ list on education.
In order to build the best education system for the society we want to live in, the NEU is challenging the government to
- End school cuts and invest in education
- End child poverty
- Address the teacher retention and recruitment crisis
- Replace Ofsted with a fair way of evaluating schools
- End high-stakes primary tests
“There are massive problems in the system which the incoming government must address fast. Schools, colleges and nursery schools face continuing, interlinked, crises in funding, teacher retention and workload. The Conservatives were isolated on education during the election campaign – the only party not to recognise the damaging effect of England’s high stakes assessment system, the devastating impact of Ofsted on teaching, learning and teachers’ morale, and how incompetently Ofsted accounts for the cost of poverty.
“The new Government must put funding and teacher morale right at the top of their action plan. Neither taxpayers nor pupils can afford to keep losing teachers at the current rate. Immediate action is also needed to tackle unacceptable workload levels within the teaching profession. Developing a fairer system to evaluate school effectiveness can't wait.
“School funding was raised regularly on the doorstep with Parliamentary candidates and newly elected MPs must work to ensure that all children attend a properly funded school. Parents, teachers and heads will not tolerate five more years of dither and denial about the realities of underfunding. The public is clearly of the consensus that the problem is both real and runs deep.
“Disgracefully, a third of children live in poverty, and this has a devastating impact on their life chances and their access to education. Whilst the Conservative manifesto said little new about children and education, schools across the country are collecting for food banks over Christmas or opening on Christmas Day to support children and families. Ignoring the scale of child poverty and the damage it inflicts isn't an option.
“This election became about so much more than Brexit. Education became the third priority for parents after the NHS and Brexit. Our new Government must not forget this. Children get one chance in education. The NEU will look to be working with the new Government to make a better set of choices on education during 2020.”