Teachers to urge ballot over cuts

Published: Sunday 5th April 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Teachers are today expected to issue a call for a ballot on national walkouts over funding cuts they claim could lead to job losses and damage education.

As well as dealing with real-terms cuts since 2010, from this September schools will also have to find more money for increases in pensions and National Insurance costs, as well as coping with continuing rises in pupil numbers, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Harrogate will debate a priority motion which urges political parties ahead of the General Election to make clear commitments to protecting funding in the future.

And it sets out a series of measures for the union to take, including preparing and balloting for a national campaign of strikes and other industrial action.

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said that during the next academic year, schools will have to find around 5% more to cover rises in pension and NI contributions, with no extra cash coming in.

“That’s going to lead to serious cuts in schools up and down the country, redundancies in some schools, restrictions in curriculum. It’s a really big problem that politicians have to address urgently.”

The resolution says that basic funding for schools – the direct school grant – has been frozen for the past five years, which represents “a significant cut in base funding” that has only been partly offset by the pupil premium – funding for poorer children.

It goes on to raise concerns about the Conservative Party’s election plans for education funding, and called other political parties, including Labour, to give assurances they will protect funding per pupil in real terms to ensure that cuts are avoided after rises in pupil numbers are taken into account.

The Conservatives have said they will protect cash school spending per pupil, while Labour has committed to protecting the education budget for three to 19-year-olds in line with inflation.

Part of the NUT’s motion says the union should “prepare and ballot for a national campaign of strike and non-strike action, seeking the involvement of other teaching unions and non-teaching unions where appropriate, on the impact of cuts on pay and working conditions if no progress is made in talks with the new government on the issue of funding which would help avoid such cuts”.

The earliest the union is likely to ballot members would be in the summer term, after a new government has taken power, which opens the door to the prospect of industrial action taking place in the autumn term.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: ” The NUT leadership’s irresponsible motion shows how out of touch they are with parents and children across the country.

“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.

“We have committed to protect the money that schools receive for every individual child they teach. As pupil numbers rise, so will the amount of money that schools receive.”

Published: Sunday 5th April 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search