Community has written to the new Secretary of State for Education, Kit Malthouse MP, on behalf of members.
Read the letter:
Dear Mr Malthouse
7 September 2022
Many congratulations on your appointment to the role of Secretary of State for Education. Community has a long history of positive working with the government for the good of children, teachers and other education workers up and down the country, and we trust that this will continue.
Unfortunately, you inherit an unenviable situation. Our members are struggling, and the education system is on its knees. Despite everything that is going on, they are still putting children first, but action needs to be taken and soon. The key issues that our members highlight are:
- Early Years
The funding is simply inadequate to cover the costs of the funded placements. This means settings have to increase charges or to use less qualified staff to cover. This puts children at a disadvantage and increases the stress and workload for staff. It is not something that can be resolved by a simple change to the ratio as this will worsen staff wellbeing and potentially put children at risk.
The initial teacher training system is broken. The recent ‘market review’ has caused irreparable damage, with institutions withdrawing from the sector. There are now fewer places for students to learn to be a teacher, fewer qualifying, and fewer remaining in the role. We are on the cusp of a crisis, with accountability, workload and pay at its heart.
Staff working in universities, colleges and sixth-form centres are vulnerable to student numbers, which is leading to a system based purely on demand. Tutors need consistency and security in order to be able to best serve their students, but the financial backing must be there to ensure this.
And all settings, whether large or small, are suffering from the extraordinary increases in energy costs, which will result in staffing cuts, fewer trips and resources for pupils and students, a narrower curriculum offer, and in some instances, settings will have to close.
We are passionate about our members, and they are passionate about the pupils and students they work with, but we are under no illusions that the task ahead of you is great.
We look forward to working with you to address these issues.
Roy Rickhuss CBE
General Secretary, Community Union