Rayner: Hinds ‘buried head in the sand’ on funding

NASUWT criticises education secretary for offering training rather than support on behaviour in schools

angela rayner, labour, hinds, damian hinds, conference, speech, 2018, funding

Damian Hinds has been accused of “burying his head in the sand” after he failed to offer schools any increase in overall funding in his Conservative Party conference speech.

The education secretary instead told delegates “we are strong investors in education” when compared to G7 nations.

He also announced £10 million to train teachers in behaviour management, and the names of 32 primary schools that will become 'English hubs'.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “Damian Hinds had the chance to show that he had listened to parents, pupils and teachers but instead he has buried his head in the sand.

“He once said that education was a ‘special case’ for new investment, yet today’s recycled announcements contained no new funding for schools and did nothing to reverse the damage done by years of Tory austerity.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, described the new funding Mr Hinds announced as “a drop in the ocean”.

He added: “The government was told by heads last week that funding cuts have left some schools in the position where they are cutting subjects from the curriculum, increasing class sizes, cutting school trips and after-school clubs, and leaving buildings in disrepair.

"Nothing in Damian Hinds’ speech addresses this desperate situation.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, criticised Mr Hinds for offering teachers training to manage behaviour, rather than more support.

She said: “It’s not the teachers who are the problem.

“It’s the impact of government policy which has removed access to specialist internal and external support through cuts to services, increased class sizes, created a teacher supply crisis and narrowed the curriculum leading to disaffection of pupils who can no longer access creative subjects or high-quality vocational provision.”

Her views were echoed by Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT head teachers’ union, who said that “supporting teachers in developing their skills is helpful but equipping schools with sufficient staff, funding and specialist support services would be better”.

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