Teachers, leaders, support staff and governors are joining forces to lobby MPs for a better deal for schools, colleges and children.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the National Education Union (NEU), the National Governance Association (NGA) and UNISON are organising a mass lobby of parliament on Tuesday 20 June.
Members will be highlighting to their MPs the unprecedented crisis facing the sector as a result of the underfunding of education, staff shortages caused by the government’s devaluing of the workforce, and an accountability system of performance tables and Ofsted inspections which is punitive and counterproductive.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This lobby is about taking our message directly to Westminster that our schools and colleges simply cannot go on like this. They are desperately short of the key resources that they need to function effectively – money and staff. This is not an accident but the result of political choices made by the government. Staff, students and parents all deserve better.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Schools deserve a better deal than they are getting from the government. For too long, government has underfunded and undervalued education, and it is staff and pupils that have suffered. We are lobbying to show the united voice of the profession in saying enough is enough. Sustained real-terms investment in schools, their staff, and children’s futures, is desperately needed to reverse the harm caused by lack of investment over the last decade.”
Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Teachers, school leaders, governors and parents will be coming to Westminster on 20 June to tell their MPs why it is time to invest in education. The government needs to invest in this generation of children and young people. If ministers fund schools properly, they can start to address the decline in teacher pay and tackle the worsening recruitment and retention crisis in education. MPs should be left in no doubt after this lobby that we need urgent action to save our schools.”
Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association, said: “School governors and academy trustees tell us that while their staff are making great efforts to provide a good education for pupils, their challenges have been increasing. These include families facing the cost-of-living crisis, more pupils with SEND or mental health issues, lower rates of attendance since Covid and sometimes crumbling buildings. They are exacerbated by their staff shortages and by the withering of other public services for families. Governing boards sign off the budget, and given all the crucial demands, many have concerns at being able both to balance the budget and reward staff next year.”
UNISON assistant general secretary Jon Richards said: “Education should be given the priority it deserves. That means proper investment to repair the years of neglect, and ensure children and young people are given the opportunities they need. Spending on individual pupils has dropped significantly since 2010, staff are leaving for better paid jobs in supermarkets and school buildings are falling apart. Pupils, parents and communities deserve far better.”