Standing up for London s Education

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1 Standing up for London s Education A manifesto for our schools and colleges

2 113k London needs to create 113,110 new school places during the lifetime of this Parliament. (London Councils Report, Do the Maths, 2015) In London, almost 40% of all children grow up in poverty. (Child Poverty Action Group, 2015) 40% 3 in5 Three in five young teachers say they will leave London in the next five years due to unaffordable housing (London Young Teachers Housing Survey, 2015) London will lose 12% of its funding for schools under this Government. (NUT Analysis, F40 & Treasury Figures, 2015) 12% To have your say in the elections for the Mayor and London Assembly on 5 May you must be on the electoral register. It only takes a few minutes to register and you can sign up at gov.uk/register-to-vote. Sign up no later than 19 April to make your voice heard.

3 Standing up for London s Education London is a city full of creativity, talent and potential. Our schools and our teachers are among the best in the world. However, there are significant challenges facing London schools. Child poverty and unfit testing regimes jeopardise our children s education, and now local authorities and London s schools face huge budget cuts. We believe that every child deserves the best education that our city can offer. That every parent should be able to send their child to a good school that s close to home, that every child should be taught by a qualified teacher and that no child should grow up in poverty. Unfortunately these ideals are under threat. Inequality in society is fuelling inequality in education. Teachers and parents are being priced out of the city, while school budgets are slashed and the subject options available to children become narrower. In this manifesto you ll find a series of proposals that we re asking the next Mayor and London Assembly to champion. Please read on, share what you find and help us ensure that every child in London gets the chance to realise their potential. Christine Blower, General Secretary 3

4 A good local school for every child Every child has the right to a quality education and every parent should be able to send their child to a good school that is close to home. Yet this is becoming increasingly difficult to guarantee for parents in London. The Government has restricted local authorities legal powers to plan and deliver new school places. The Government s academy and free school policy has prevented councils from opening local authority schools where they are most needed. Councils have also been denied the legal power to require academies or free schools to take in more children when they have space available. This has led to many schools becoming overcrowded. Some children fail to secure a school place in their local communities and are forced to travel long distances every day. Four out of five parents believe that local authorities should have the power to open new schools where needed.* We call on the next Mayor and London Assembly to: champion local councils regaining the power and the funding to open new schools hold an investigation into the impact of the Government s academy and free school programme on the availability of school places. * YouGov / NUT Survey,

5 London is currently short of 15,000 school places. On top of this London s pupil population is set to increase by a further 146,000 by (London Councils Report, Do the Maths, 2015)

6 Affordable housing for children and teachers Exorbitant housing costs are creating a teacher shortage crisis that will hit every school and college in London, as 60% of young teachers say they will leave the city within the next five years.* With the average monthly cost of renting a one bed flat in London now 1,100 and rising, and the average monthly take-home pay of a newly qualified teacher being 1,600, living in London is no longer a sustainable, long-term option for teachers. Meanwhile unaffordable rents are forcing many families into unsuitable housing, where insecurity impacts on children s ability to settle and make progress in school. Teachers tell of disappearing children as families are priced out of their communities and forced to relocate sometimes hundreds of miles away. Urgent action is needed. The NUT calls on the next Mayor and London Assembly to: advocate for rent controls and for more affordable housing in London, with investment for councils to build homes, so that parents and children are not priced out of their community take urgent action to provide affordable housing to enable London schools to keep the teachers they need. * NUT London Young Teachers Housing Survey,

7 I would have to save for thirty years if I ever wanted to buy a house in this city. (Young teacher, London)

8 Education invest, don t cut London schools are among the most successful in the world but the Government s funding plans are putting this at risk. Independent experts believe that over the next five years the schools budget will be cut by 8% nationally. Children in London will face even greater cuts, because the Government wants to cut funding from the capital s schools in order to give it to schools in other parts of the country. Budget cuts in London s schools are already resulting in increased class sizes, fewer teachers and support staff, reduced classroom resources and the slashing of essential support for children with special educational needs. This will all get worse if the Government goes ahead with its funding plans. We call on the next Mayor and London Assembly to: campaign to protect funding for London s schools and colleges support sufficient funding for local authorities to sustain the services that children and families need. Schools in every borough in London are set to lose out under new Government plans, from schools in Richmond upon Thames facing 7% real terms budget cuts to those in Hackney facing over 20%. (NUT Analysis, F40 & Treasury Figures, 2015) 8

9 All children deserve qualified teachers Children should be taught by qualified teachers. Every parent expects this for their child. Yet astonishingly the Government allows academies and free schools to employ unqualified teaching staff. 15% of teaching posts in London s free schools are currently filled by people without qualified teacher status.* Our children deserve to be taught by professionals who are experts in how children learn and develop. Many supply teacher agencies are using unqualified staff to stand in for teachers. These private agencies are making huge profits from this; money that should be spent on children s education. The NUT calls on the next Mayor and London Assembly to champion: that every child in every lesson is taught by a qualified teacher an efficient London-wide, co-ordinated system for properly paid and qualified teachers to cover teacher absences. * School workforce statistics, DfE survey, % of parents believe that publicly funded schools should only employ qualified teachers. (YouGov / NUT Survey, 2014) 9

10 An equal chance for every child in London London is a fantastic, diverse city, full of energy and creativity. Its schools have a proud history of embracing diversity and welcoming all children. For decades our schools have brought communities together, challenged stereotypes, overcome prejudice and helped close the gaps in our often unequal society. The London Challenge approach, which was scrapped by the Coalition Government, helped more children succeed by encouraging collaboration between schools. Countries which rank schools in league tables based on narrow test scores end up with more unequal outcomes for children than those which develop co-ordinated education services. If we re to overcome the barriers so many children face, we need the Government to drop the policies which are making it harder for teachers and schools to work together. World conflicts bring pressures to our capital s schools. It s vital that the new Mayor and London Assembly take the lead in ensuring that London s schools remain places where children and teachers of all races, religions and backgrounds can debate the world around them and learn from each other s experiences. The NUT calls on the next Mayor and London Assembly to: promote social cohesion for the benefit of every London child champion sufficient investment for local councils to sustain specialist high quality services to meet the diverse needs of children; including children with SEND, from refugee families, or who have English as an additional language. 10

11 No child should be expected to cast off the language and culture of home as he [or she] crosses the school threshold. (Bullock Report, 1975)

12 An end to child poverty in London London is home to some of the wealthiest and some of the poorest people in the UK. Almost four in 10 children in the capital grow up in poverty.* As well as affecting children s health, this poverty impacts directly on children s learning and educational outcomes. Child hunger is a significant problem in London schools, as the rise of families using food banks has shown. Many teachers now buy food to give to their pupils at the start of a school day. Welfare benefit cuts and the bedroom tax are hitting families hard. Shockingly, in-work poverty has risen by 70% over the last decade.** Nearly two-thirds of children growing up in poverty live in families where at least one family member is working. London s Mayor should ensure provision of the high quality childcare and early years education which is proven to improve the life chances of children living below the poverty line. We call on the next Mayor and London Assembly to champion: the minimum wage for London to be at least the London Living Wage (currently 9.40 an hour) adoption of robust targets for reductions in child poverty. * Child Poverty Action Group, 2015 ** London s Poverty Profile Report,

13 In some cases it was just a packet of crisps or a piece of bread and butter [for lunch]. One child was bringing nothing we realised the other children were giving her food. (Head teacher, London, speaking to the Guardian in 2013)

14 An end to exam factories Parents want their children to be treated as individuals, but Government policies are in danger of turning our schools into exam factories. Students in England are now the most tested in Europe, with children labelled as successes and failures from as early as four years old. This exam factory culture is causing high levels of stress and anxiety among our children. ChildLine reported a 200% increase in counselling sessions related to exam stress between and * Children need a broad education including arts, music, sport and quality vocational options. Yet these subjects are being squeezed out of the curriculum through budget cuts and a new pressure on schools to prioritise a narrow range of core academic subjects. The NUT calls on the next Mayor and the London Assembly to: champion a rich and rewarding school experience for every child in London hold an investigation into the effects of excessive testing on our children s mental health and well-being. * ChildLine,

15 Use this manifesto Parents and teachers, working together, can make this manifesto a reality. 1. Talk with friends, colleagues and neighbours about our vision for the future of children s education, and distribute the manifesto to homes near you. 2. Help out on a Standing Up for London s Education stall where this manifesto can be discussed with members of the public. 3. Hold an after-work event to discuss this manifesto and the issues local parents would like to raise with candidates. 4. Together with other parents and teachers, meet or write to mayoral candidates to ask their position on this manifesto. Then tell other parents and teachers what they have said. To order copies of the manifesto and to give us your views please

16 London s schools are among the most celebrated in the world. Yet they face real challenges every day from complex issues such as child poverty, unfit testing regimes and funding cuts. We believe that every child deserves the best education that this city can offer. Inside this manifesto you ll find our suggestions for maintaining and extending the excellence in London schools and a call on the next Mayor of London to help teachers create a fairer society for all. follow us on twitter.com/nutonline Designed and published by the Communications Department of The National Union of Teachers Origination by Paragraphics Printed by Ruskin Press /12/15

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