Teachers on strike on a NEU picket line

The Green Party of England and Wales has now published its general election manifesto. The document has been warmly received by the UK’s largest trade union for teachers and education workers, the National Education Union (NEU).

Commenting on the manifesto, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the NEU, said: “The Green Party is correct to say in their manifesto that it is time to be clear about how broken our public services are. After 14 years of neglect, the scale of the problem in education is immense.

“Seventy per cent of schools now have less funding in real terms than they did in 2010. The Green Party’s commitment to increase school funding by £8bn is bold and ambitious and goes a long way to delivering the £12.2 billion that our School Cuts Campaign has calculated is needed to start reversing the impact of Government cuts.

“The Green Party has also pledged £2bn for a pay uplift for teachers. Since 2010 real terms pay cuts have resulted in pay in education falling so far behind the wider economy that we face a recruitment and retention crisis. The Greens are right to identify that boosting teacher pay is needed to get us out of the crisis that is holding our education system back.”

Kebede went on to say: “The Greens have listened to the profession, and we welcome its recognition that Ofsted needs to be abolished. Schools and colleges need to be accountable but the punitive nature of Ofsted inspections are driving many teachers out of the profession and do not give a true reflection of the work in our schools and colleges.

“The commitment to end high stakes testing at primary and secondary schools would do much to end the exam factory culture that currently is blighting so many children and young people’s experience of education and their well-being.

“The UK is one of the richest countries in the world, yet there are over four million children in poverty. We welcome the Greens commitment to removing the two-child benefit cap and providing universal free school meals. Ending child poverty should be a national priority.

“The party’s commitment to repeal anti-union legislation is also welcome. The UK has some of the most restrictive trade union legislation in Europe and this Conservative Government has presided over appalling industrial relations. The industrial action that NEU members took over pay was a direct result of the Conservative Government’s abject failure to sufficiently support the education system.

“The Green Party manifesto offers a refreshing chance to change the education system that educators, parents and our children and young people have had to put up with for the last 14 years.”

Image credit: Fotologic – Creative Commons