TUSC endorses NUT Manifesto - while four NEC members will stand as TUSC candidates
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has today endorsed the Manifesto for Education produced by the largest teachers' union in England and Wales, the National Union of Teachers (NUT). At the same time it was confirmed that four members of the union's national executive committee (NEC) will be standing as TUSC candidates in May's elections.
The Con-Dem Government has damaged children's education. Their determination to open free schools and academies has left a fragmented and divided education system. Their attacks on pay, conditions and pensions have demoralised school staff. Excessive testing and divisive league tables have driven enjoyment out of education for staff and students alike. Children, families and school staff need these damaging policies to be reversed.
Shamefully, the Labour Party has given no indication that it would do so. David Blunkett's policy review made clear that "academies are here to stay". Shadow Education secretary Tristram Hunt has joined the Tories in blaming teachers for the problems caused by cuts, poverty and divisive education policies.
TUSC stands against cuts and privatisation and for good quality education for every child. We stand for free education for all, for grants not fees. That's why we fully endorse the NUT's Manifesto for Education which sets out a different direction for education in England and Wales.
In particular, TUSC backs the NUT's Manifesto in saying that:
NUT executive member and TUSC candidate Martin Powell-Davies (Click to enlarge)
- The current system stifles creativity and leads to 'teaching to the test'. League tables should be replaced by national sampling.
- The Â£156 million a year spent on Ofsted inspections could be better invested in services to generate improvement and share good practice.
- Unless child poverty is addressed by the next government, millions will never achieve their potential. The bedroom tax should be abolished.
- Funding should be increased for high quality early years education, with more qualified teachers and smaller nursery classes.
- The role of the local authority should be restored as the democratic local organisation responsible for education. They should be given the funding and legal powers they need to plan and provide enough school places in their local areas.
- Approvals for free schools should end and the forced academies programme should be stopped immediately.
- Funding should be restored for high quality local authority services for schools and families.
- The downward spiral of education funding should be reversed, restoring it to at least 2010 levels in real terms.
- Action should be taken to reduce workload and to restore a national pay structure for all schools.
Anne Lemon, NUT executive member and TUSC candidate
TUSC endorses all of these points but we would also go further. We have clear policy of opposition to academies and 'free schools'. We call for all schools to be brought under the control of a genuinely democratic local education authority so that parents, staff and the local community can work and plan together to ensure that every child receives the education they need and deserve. But unlike Labour candidates, TUSC candidates can clearly say - we support the NUT's Manifesto for Education.
It is also significant that more members of the NUT national executive committee will be standing as TUSC candidates in May's elections than there are candidates on the executive for any other party. Martin Powell-Davies is a TUSC parliamentary candidate in the Lewisham West and Penge constituency, Anne Lemon in Bristol North West, and Pete Glover in Bootle, while Phil Clarke is a TUSC local election candidate in Brighton.