Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"Boris Johnson is right to focus on society's built-in inequality. But given this stated aim to 'level up', he has made a very poor start. 

'Cutting £20 from Universal Credit that will plunge millions of people into dire straits while ignoring his own education recovery tsar's recommendation that schools and colleges need £15 billion catch up funding, is the opposite of 'levelling up'. Increasing levels of child poverty will put paid to any talk of equality and ensuring children and young people achieve their full potential.

'Introducing a £3,000 premium for maths and science teachers is welcome but ignores the fact that there are teacher shortages across the curriculum. Unreasonable and intensive workload, pay and lack of professional agency is driving teachers from the profession in ever increasing numbers. This must be addressed by the Government urgently.

'Guts are not all that is needed to help our country recover from this pandemic. The profession and the families we serve need commitments that go beyond the rhetoric. We need properly funded policies to end child poverty and ensure that our schools and colleges are given the resources so that every child and young person succeeds regardless of their background or where they live.  

'The Prime Minister said in February that education recovery was a national priority. Eight months later, parents will think that it is about time that he puts the money where his mouth is. All eyes will now turn to the spending review later in the month to see if the Government has 'the guts' to invest in education recovery". 

ENDS 

2021-166-NEU