RATHER than dismissing the concerns of the hundreds of headteachers who are expected to mark on the Houses of Parliament, and 10 Downing Street, tomorrow, Ministers should be asking why such respected individuals actually feel the need to take to the streets.
These are not serial protesters – or hard-line trade union activists spoiling for a fight with the Tories. They’re professional people accustomed to working with the Department for Education, local councils and others over schooling matters.
And when they say ‘enough is enough’, and feel the need to march on Whitehall about the day-to-day strains on budgets and how teachers can be expected to pay for lesson materials and so on out of their own pockets, the Government needs to listen.
Though Ministers are right to stress that funding for schools will rise to a record £43.5bn by 2020, 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than in 2000 when New Labour was in power, it is either not getting to the front line or is insufficient to counter rises in inflation and the costs incurred by schools.
The consequence is experienced teachers being lost to classrooms through disillusionment when they’re needed more than ever to ensure students complete their education with the skills that they will enable them to prosper in a global economy.
It’s called investing in Great Britain plc and Education Secretary Damian Hinds needs to not only recognise this, but ensure that areas previously penalised by inequities in the Government’s funding arrangements – such as the North – start to receive fairer funding.