The UK National Union of Teachers has asked for immediate tackling of education funding cuts, warning of a post-election strike should the new government fail to avert the crisis.
The delegates of the National Union of Teachers support a vote for strike as the new budget cuts mean jobs will be axed and funding “drip-fed.”
During the annual NUT conference in Harrogate delegates backed a motion for a ballot on potential industrial action if the next government doesn’t address the education cuts crisis. Citing the analysis issued by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, delegates explain that:
“[F]unding would be cut by up to 12% in real terms under the plans of both major parties, and would inevitably lead to job losses and increased workload, as well as lower pay and pension contributions for school staff” , Richard Adams Education Editor for The Guardian writes.
Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, says:
“Teachers have seen job losses, worsening working conditions and restrictions on pay progression. Many serving teachers have been driven out of the profession, and many potential recruits to teaching lost.”
Blower called for all political parties to commit in providing school places for students coming to school in September and protect the education budget:
“We need a first class education system to support economic recovery. The NUT has called for the restoration of education funding to the levels required to support this vital investment in our future.”
A spokesman of the Conservatives said in response to the NUT decision:
“We have had to make difficult decisions to tackle the record deficit we inherited but we have protected spending on schools in real terms and spending per pupil has gone up over the course of this parliament.” The spokesman added, “We have committed to protect the money that schools receive for every individual child they teach.”
BBC’s sources reveal that some schools in Wales will lose as much as £100,000 if the education cuts are implemented, a serious underfunding that they say makes it hard for these schools to operate smoothly and offer quality education to students.
NUT’s declaration has been called an action out of touch and an irresponsible thing to do by a Conservative spokesman. Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws argues that discussing industrial strike action at this point is premature.
The Labour Party committed to protecting school budgets in line with inflation while the Conservatives promised to safeguard per-student funding of schools without taking into consideration inflation, Hanna Richardson of the BBC writes.
The motion doesn’t specify when industrial action will be taken. As The Guardian’s Richard Adams says, the NUT hopes the new government will address the education cuts in its fall anouncement and the strike will be avoided.