JEREMY CORBYN was given a standing ovation as he became the first political leader in living memory to address the National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) conference.
The Labour veteran, a fervent opponent to the Government’s planned academisation programme, brought the packed conference hall in Brighton to its feet as he took to the stage to accuse Tories of presiding over a “crisis in our schools”. The former backbencher, propelled to leader following last year’s Conservative general election victory, said: “George Osborne used the Budget to announce the forced academisation of all schools.
“Let’s be clear - this is an ideological attack on teachers and on local and parental accountability - it was nowhere in Tory manifesto, it’s something that’s just been dreamt up at the last minute and stuck into the Budget. I want schools accountable to their parents and their communities - not as a process of asset-stripping our facilities to be handed over to somebody else. There is not a shred of evidence that academies improve standards.”
Mr Corbyn told the conference his late mother was a maths teacher and an NUT member.
And he drew laughs when he identified someone who he said would benefit from her teachings.
He said: “There’s one or two pupils around the country who need extra tuition - one of those is George Osborne.
“Having just presented a Budget to Parliament that doesn’t add up - in fact it has a massive black hole in it - I think maybe a little extra tuition would be useful to him.
“Is anybody offering? Please, somebody.”
Switching back to the Government’s plan for academisation, he added: “There is a crisis in our schools now.
“Children are facing rising class sizes; there is a shortage of teachers, and parents already face a crisis in school places.
“Forced academisation will do nothing to address any of those problems.
“Yet, in Osborne’s Budget, over £600m has been allocated to needless reorganisation that has addressed not a single issue that matters to teachers, parents or pupils.
“You see where the priorities are - spending money on a reorganisation nobody wants, to reduce the influence and control of local authorities in order to bring in unaccountable academies. Those are the Tory priorities - they’re absolutely not ours.”
Members of the audience shouted: “We love you Jeremy” as he left the stage.