General Secretary pays tribute to Damian Hinds and welcomes new Education Secretary

General Secretary Deborah Lawson pays tribute to former Education Secretary Damian Hinds and welcomes his successor, Gavin Williamson.

The General Secretary of Voice: The Union for Education Professionals has paid tribute to the former Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, and welcomed his successor, Gavin Williamson, calling for a swift and long-term solution to the current funding situation in schools, colleges and early years education.

Deborah Lawson said:

“Damian Hinds did listen to our concerns about teacher workload and recruitment and retention and made some genuine progress on those issues, including with the Workload Reduction Toolkit and the Early Career Framework. We wish him well for the future.

“We congratulate Gavin Williamson on his appointment and look forward to working with him and meeting him at the earliest opportunity.

“He will have a lot in his in-tray with many competing priorities, all of which require quick and permanent solutions.

“It is important that initiatives on workload and recruitment continue, but school funding requires immediate attention and it is hoped that he will make good on the new Prime Minister’s campaign promises in this respect. 

“The funding crisis has devastated all phases of education, from early years through to further and higher education. Increasing demand for SEND provision has not been matched with increased funding. This has restricted the support that can be provided and prevented schools, colleges and early years providers from planning for anything other than further cuts, a factor which can be devastating when those cuts mean the loss of invaluable teaching assistants and specialist teachers.

“The Government needs a plan for the early years as well as Brexit.  As well as extra funding for early years settings, there needs to be 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.

“I also urge the new Education Secretary to follow through on his predecessor’s commitment on alternative provision and not to leave recent recommendations and plans to gather dust on a shelf.

“Going forward, the Government needs an ambitious plan for the whole of education that is long term, fully funded and not subject to the political uncertainties of  the election cycle.”   

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