Voice: The Union for Education Professionals has welcomed the promise of a much-needed funding boost for schools and further education, and the recommended pay increase for new teachers, announced ahead of the Spending Review (Wednesday 4 September), but called for investment in the early years, the Government to respond to the Augar Review of Post-18 Education, and a long-term strategy for the whole of education.
General Secretary Deborah Lawson said:
“We welcome the extra money for schools and colleges, and the commitment to increase spending over three years, enabling heads to plan ahead.
“The recommended pay increase for new teachers may support recruitment to the profession in time.
“However, we hope that the Spending Review will include some good news for the early years too. Nurseries are struggling financially and there is an urgent need for a career and salary structure for early years professionals, who – as the Education Policy Institute and National Day Nurseries Association have pointed out – are currently leaving in droves to earn more stacking supermarket shelves.
“Universities, colleges and future students are also awaiting the Government’s detailed response to the Augar Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. The previous Education Secretary made a commitment that the Government would finalise its ‘approach’ at the next Spending Review.
School and college funding
“The school and college funding announced so far has the potential to make a real and sustained difference.
“The news that, from September, the Government will be fully funding increased contributions into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, will help school leaders’ budgets, but much of what has been announced is ‘jam tomorrow’ – especially in this uncertain political climate. After years of austerity cuts and rising costs, the commitment to longer-term investment is welcome, but we hope that the Spending Review will bring some much-needed immediate relief too.
“Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision has been devastated by the loss of invaluable teaching assistants and specialist teachers at a time of rising demand, so we welcome the announcement of extra money for SEND.
“It was alarming that the recent leaked Government briefing paper reportedly suggested that there were too many TAs – seeming to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of their invaluable role by some in Whitehall – so it was refreshing to hear from the Secretary of State himself at a recent meeting that he values TAs and their role.
“Going forward, the Government needs an ambitious longer-term plan for the whole of education that is fully funded and not subject to the political uncertainties of the election cycle.”