Queen’s Speech fails to address funding and recruitment crises facing education and childcare

Date: 27.05.15
Queen’s Speech 2015

27 May 2015 

Queen’s Speech fails to address funding and recruitment crises facing education and childcare

Commenting on the education and childcare measures proposed in today’s Queen’s Speech (27 May 2015) Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said: 

“While we welcome the Government’s aspirations for world-class education and childcare, we believe that it is failing to address the twin crises of funding and recruitment facing education and childcare. It seems that it is more interested in headlines and structures than in the people needed to deliver education and childcare and the funding that they require to do that. 

“There is no evidence that academies or free schools are more likely to provide higher standards than other schools. 

“However, without recruiting and retaining high quality teachers, headteachers, support staff and childcare professionals, schools, colleges and nurseries cannot deliver what is asked of them. 

“Chopping and changing headteachers will not provide the stability and long-term vision that schools need. 

“Many schools are struggling to recruit headteachers and there is little incentive to take on a job with increasing responsibility and pressure to perform in a very short timescale but decreasing job security.  As Sir Michael Wilshaw of Ofsted has pointed out, it could be hard for schools to find enough outstanding heads to take on the new academies.

“There is not only an axe hanging over headteachers’ heads but their budgets too. The  constant need to restructure in order to cut costs puts the jobs of staff at risk. Student numbers are rising sharply, yet staff face redundancy due to financial pressures.  Without urgent action to protect and increase funding, students will see larger class sizes, fewer teachers and lecturers and a reduced curriculum. 

“The real-term reduction in teachers’ pay is starting to result in problems in attracting graduates into the profession and retaining experienced teachers. The DfE’s own estimates of the demand for school places over the next few years show that there is an increasing need for teachers. Recruitment difficulties will only get worse if teaching salaries fail to keep up with other professions.  

Teaching assistants and other support staff in schools carry out a vital role but a lack of a national structure means that their pay and conditions are at the mercy of market forces and affordability, rather than a true reflection of the worth and value of their qualifications, knowledge, experience and skill in supporting teaching and learning.

“Qualified childcare professionals who have trained and undertaken academic and practical assessment are likely to earn the minimum wage or a little above it for most of their career.  Promotion opportunities are limited and often provide greater responsibility, which is not matched or reflected by the accompanying salary increase. 

“Increasing free childcare may sound like good news for parents, but nurseries need to retain and recruit motivated qualified staff to provide that childcare.” 


Further information

Queen's Speech 2015

Voice’s Election Manifesto 2015

Joint union letter on funding


Contacts:

Voice Press Office
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Email: deborahlawson@voicetheunion.org.uk

Tel: 01332 372337