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Politicians don't pay attention to young people, teachers say

Politicians have little or no regard for young people when it comes to developing policies, according to teachers.

A straw poll by TES reveals that more than three-quarters of the profession do not believe that political parties have the best interests of young people in mind when they are deciding strategy.

The start of the year has been dominated by speeches on education by the leaders of the three main parties, setting out their stalls ahead of May’s general election.

All three party leaders have promised to protect school spending during the next Parliament, but closer scrutiny of policies has shown that they would all be likely to lead to real-terms cuts, owing either to rising inflation or to growing pupil numbers.

Two-thirds of the 350 respondents on the TES political panel said their voting decision was influenced primarily by education policy.

Emma Hardy, a teacher at Willerby Carr Lane Primary School in Hull, said the survey results reflected the mood of “cynicism and mistrust” toward politicians.

“People tend to believe that politicians are motivated by what the electorate wants to hear rather than what would actually help,” Ms Hardy said. “If this government truly cared about education they wouldn’t threaten to sack headteachers if each child cannot recite their times tables. It’s political posturing to gain votes, not a serious attempt to improve education.

She added: “To win back the trust of teachers, politicians would have to stop posturing and outdoing each other.”

To read the full story get the 27 February edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

Related stories: 

Miliband tells TES: 'We are offering a new beginning for teachers' – 20 February, 2015

Clegg pledges to protect school budgets against inflation – 12 February, 2015

Cameron: schools will face real-terms funding cuts under Tories – 2 February, 2015

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