Teachers are having to spend their own salaries to keep the school system running, it was revealed today at the NEU teaching union national conference in Liverpool.
Teacher Jenny Jones, from the NEU's Wandsworth branch, showed a shopping list to delegates of all the items she has bought this year for her school this year – and it came to £735.88.
Items included 120 glue sticks, 100 coloured erasers and a heater to keep her warm when she was doing her marking after school when the heating had been switched off.
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She said: “Parents tell me to stop buying things. They bought me a roll of industrial-size double sided tape.”
Speaking in support of the union’s motion to prioritise the campaign for school funding, Ms Jones moved an amendment (which was carried) to consult members and schools to ascertain funding and resources purchases carried out by staff and parents, and to publicise this as part of the funding campaign.
NEU executive member Alex Kenny said teachers were literally giving up their own salaries to help save the jobs of colleagues and said politicians should “hang their heads in shame.”
He said: “It’s a grotesque situation we’re in where teachers are opting to take pay cuts to save jobs and that is not an option we should be endorsing.”
NEU executive member Jonathon Reddiford said his Year 11 pupils working towards their GCSEs sometimes had to share one textbook between three, or else take a photo of a page on their phones and work off a small screen.
Yet he said that since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the richest 100 people in Britain had increased their collective wealth by £665 million.
He said of the funding cuts: “This shows contempt for children we are teaching. It’s quite simply wrong.”
Devon teacher Tim Hodge told conference about a MAT of seven schools in Devon where 50 jobs were being cut.
The conference passed a motion to prioritise the union’s campaign to increase school funding, however a call to “consult members on a national campaign up to and including strike action to oppose cuts" was replaced by an amendment moved by the union executive to test the water for strike action by holding a further indicative ballot.