However, the Government’s academy and free school programme has marketised and fragmented the school system. Competition between schools, combined with a high-stakes accountability system means children and young people are seen as commodities, resulting in an unaccountable and opaque admissions systems and high levels of exclusions and off rolling by academy trusts.

“School and college funding is at its lowest level for decades and teacher recruitment and retention levels are the worst ever, driven by unsustainable teacher workload and declining pay and pension rewards.

“We have a narrow curriculum that is not fit for purpose and our children and young people are among the most tested in the world. It is no wonder we are seeing such high levels of stress and anxiety among pupils.

“This week Conference has heard from the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesperson, Layla Moran. It is exciting to know that both parties are advocating an alternative vision for education, one which puts the needs of children and young people, at its heart and where schools and college have sufficient funding to provide a high-quality education for all. The NEU looks forward to continuing to work with both parties on developing their plans.”

ENDS

2019-054-NEU

Note to editors:

We are currently in Liverpool for our Annual Conference (15-18 April), during which time you will receive a higher number of press releases than usual.

The Conference Press Office can be reached on 0151 707 4642 (9am-6pm) and 07879 480 061 (24hrs). The press officer can be reached at caroline.cowie@neu.org.uk

Our conference agenda is available here: https://neu.org.uk/media/3861/view

The hashtag for Annual Conference is #NEU19 .

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe.
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
  • The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.