Future of education at stake on June 8, union tells voters in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 06:19 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 06:20 22 May 2017
Members of the largest teachers’ union appealed to shoppers in Ipswich to ‘vote for the future of education’ in next month’s General Election.
The Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) advised people in the centre of town to think long and hard about their vote on June 8.
Theresa May’s Conservative manifesto promise, to pump £4 billion into education, came after a backlash to the government’s new fairer funding formula, which would see 10,700 schools gain from extra funding, but thousands lose out.
The Conservatives have also pledged money for new free schools, including academies and grammars – funded by higher fees at the most expensive universities.
Last week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said an extra £4bn equated to a real-terms spending cut of almost 3% per pupil between 2017-18 and 2021-22 – and that maintaining current levels would need more public spending.
Margaret Bulaitis, secretary of Ipswich NUT, said it fell short of plugging a funding hole.
“It would still mean a cut in real-terms funding,” she added. “We can already see evidence of it in subjects being squeezed from the curriculum, and teaching assistants losing their jobs.
“It appears a lot of schools lost out by becoming academies – many of which provide education for profit – and there is no evidence standards are better at grammar schools.
“It’s for the government of the day to decide where the money comes from. We are an independent union, and simply ask that people listen carefully to what the parties are saying.”
NUT member Ian Roberts went from teaching IT at Suffolk Police to computer science at Felixstowe Academy five years ago.
He said: “Having come from another part of the public sector, where funding was becoming an issue, I have seen cost-cutting and jobs not being replaced.
“Of five people on my teacher training course, three have dropped out. Teachers are starting to feel they can make more and be more secure elsewhere. We’re dealing with more pupils, and less time to dedicate to them.”
The NUT hosts an ‘Education Question Time’ event at Northgate Arts Centre on June 5, from 7pm. Ipswich candidates for the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Party have been invited to speak with NUT vice president Kiri Tunks.
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