Brexit: 'Politicians must not short-change schools'

Headteachers leader says today's pupils will inherit the Brexit mess and deserve a properly funded education

John Roberts

Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, has warned politicians that they are creating chaos that today's young people will have to fix

A headteachers' leader will warn today that politicians have left the country in chaos but cannot be allowed to short-change schools.

Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the NAHT, will say that the country must invest in the generation of young people in school now who will inherit the turmoil left by Brexit.

And he will say that his union will not allow the government to expect schools to solve society’s problems.

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His comments follow a vote by the NAHT to explore industrial action if the government does not provide more school funding.

Mr Whiteman will say: “Our politicians have left our country in chaos. Our international standing is at its lowest ebb.

"Our future is uncertain. Let’s be honest, no matter if you are a Brexiteer or a Remainer, we can all agree our political leaders have been found wanting on this one.

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"Whatever the outcome, it will be the generation being educated now that we will depend upon to repair the damage. If we short-change them now, and cut back on their education now, we do so at our own risk.

"They will need to be equipped to undertake roles that we have not yet even imagined.

"We will need school leavers confident in reading, writing and recalling their times tables, but if we limit our measure of achievement to this we will cheat our children and our future. We need young adults leaving education confident of their place in the world.”

Mr Whiteman will also pay tribute to heads for coping with the challenges of profession.

He said: “Despite the chaos, despite the frequent heartbreak, despite the hard work, despite the toll taken on you and your family, you carry on.

“Not only do you carry on but you find solutions and push for improvement. You don’t just throw criticism from the sidelines. You take part, you step up.”

The NAHT has warned of the effects of austerity on pupils and yesterday its president, Judy Shaw, called on the government to take action to tackle child poverty.

Mr Whiteman is also expected to say today that schools should not be expected to solve societal problems 

“The issues that underpin inequality reach far beyond the school gates and exist throughout the communities that schools serve," he will say. "It would be wrong to expect schools to carry the can or fix the problem on their own. I won’t allow the government to make that mistake.”


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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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