From education to employment

Teachers and lecturers association sounds warning

The government’s market approach to state schools is reducing learning to a commodity and undermining good work in education, says the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Speaking at the TUC Congress in Brighton, ATL general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, said: “Markets may be good for many things, but not for our state education. The Government’s good work in education is in danger of being undermined. Extending marketisation any more will further fragment our education system and distort proper public accountability”.

Dr. Bousted asserts: “Teachers and lecturers are not sales staff, and learning is not a commodity which should be bought and sold in the state sector. This Government must end its false premise that private provision is always superior to public”.

According to the ATL, conditions for teachers and students have worsened since 1993 when the government first separated state schools from the Local Authorities in a move towards marketisation.

“While there is no evidence this market approach has improved education attainment, there is substantial proof that pay and conditions have deteriorated for those working in schools and colleges”, she added.

According to the ATL, FE lecturers have seen a 13 per cent pay gap open up compared with those teaching the same age pupils in schools; support staff are often paid little more than the minimum wage. Where academies have been set up from scratch, teachers now work longer hours with gagging clauses put into their contracts.

There has also been decline in the percentage of children from deprived backgrounds attending academies. With the threat of higher fees for courses deemed “non-priority”, ATL fears this will further deter poorer students from going to FE colleges to improve their skills.

Dr Bousted continued: “We will not get well-funded schools and colleges, or properly-paid teachers, lecturers and support staff if control is left to the vagaries of the market-place. This creeping privatisation has to stop, and stop now, before there is any more damage to our state education system”.

Leona Baldwin.

Related Articles