NEWS • VIEWS • INFORMATION • ADVICE
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Deputy Prime Minister urged to support State Education
(Photo captioned: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg)
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, has written to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to urge him to show the same support for a free and democratically accountable state education system as he has for the NHS.
Ms Keates praised the Liberal Democrats stance on fighting plans by Conservative ministers to open up the NHS to competition and private finance. The plans detailed in the Education Bill could have the same impact, Ms Keates argued in her letter, and she urged the Deputy Prime Minister to show the same level of support for schools, teachers and young people.
“If it is not acceptable to sell our health to profiteers why is it acceptable to sell to them our children’s education?”
Ms Keates called on Mr Clegg to call for a delay to the passage of the Education Bill through parliament and a temporary halt on the granting of any further academy orders, to enable a rigorous examination of the potential implications on state education.
(See comments from the General Secretary on page 31).
The public backs the Archbishop’s criticisms of the Coalition Government’s education reforms.
(Photo of Dr Rowan Williams)
An opinion poll by Populus has demonstrated clear public support for the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams’ criticisms of the Coalition Government’s reforms to the education system.
Writing in the New Statesman, Dr Williams sharply criticised the Coalition Government, stating that ‘we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted’. He added that there was ‘public anxiety and anger’ about the reforms because they had not been ‘exposed to proper public argument’.
The Archbishop attacked the Coalition Government for attempting to divide people into the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor.
Support from the general public for the Archbishop’s comments was clear, with 55% of people polled on behalf of the Times newspaper agreeing with the statement and only 15% opposing.
Furthermore, the poll demonstrated overwhelming support for the role of local councils, as 66% of respondents agreed that ‘they should be trusted to run local services and ensure that they function to a sufficient standard’. This confirms, once more, that the public are opposed to the selling off of vital public services.
The public support for the views of the Archbishop substantiate the NASUWT’s belief that the Education Bill threatens to demolish the system of state education inherited by the Coalition Government just thirteen months ago. This is a system of education that has been recognised by the OECD and other international bodies as one of the best-performing systems of education in the world.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, emphasised the parallels between education and health reforms to call for ‘a halt to the untimely and hasty passage of the Education Bill, to allow for an open public debate on the issues at stake’.
HOUSE OF COMMONS
The Education Bill has now concluded its passage through the House of Commons.
HOUSE OF LORDS
Lords First Reading – 12 May
Lords Second Reading – 14 June
Committee Stage – starting week commencing 27 June. This is a line-byline examination of the bill.
Report Stage and Third Reading – week commencing 5 September. This gives the Lords a chance to consider amendments to the Bill.
Consideration of amendments to the Bill by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will then take place before the Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes law.
The NASUWT is working with Labour, Liberal Democrats and crossbench peers to seek amendments to the Bill and pressing for a halt to its passage into law.
The Union is also in talks with the Department for Education (DfE) to seek to oppose some changes to the Bill.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Members are being urged to lobby their MP to call for state education to be protected. For further information on this and guidance on the provisions of the Education Bill, visit www.nasuwt.org.uk/ChampioningEducation