Commenting on the Government’s 2017 Spring Budget, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“The Prime Minister has said she wants schools that work for everyone. An acid test which the Government faces is whether the measures contained in today’s Budget will deliver lasting solutions that will help to improve outcomes for all children and young people.
“Additional funding for new school places and for refurbishing schools is welcome. However, the Government must let go of its obsession with imposing structural solutions to the education service which continue to privilege children attending certain schools, such as free schools and grammar schools. Every child deserves to be taught in world-class school buildings with state of the art classrooms and facilities capable of delivering learning fit for the twenty-first century.
“Funding to provide free school transport should be welcomed, but this should be an entitlement for all children and young people and not only for a minority who obtain a place at a grammar school.
“The Government’s continued policy of public sector austerity has driven thousands of teachers out of the profession and left schools at the mercy of the deepest recruitment and retention crisis since the Second World War.
“The Government must ensure that additional money identified in the Budget is used to recruit and retain the teachers schools desperately need, instead of being diverted to fund other pet projects and initiatives.
“Whilst we welcome extra money for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it is important that extra money is used to recognise, reward and support teachers in delivering the high quality education that pupils need and deserve.
“Ultimately, whilst the devil will be in the detail in relation to many of the measures contained in the Budget, the Chancellor’s announcements will leave schools, children and young people wondering whether this was a Budget that works for everyone.”