GOVERNMENT’S RECORD ON CHILD POVERTY A DISGRACE

The Government was today condemned for its “economically sadistic” policies which wreak misery on the most vulnerable sectors of society and drive millions into poverty.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union
said it was a “disgrace” that in the fifth largest economy in the world children and young people were the victims of “callous fiscal and social policies” which the country had endured since 2010.

Ms Keates was speaking at the TUC Congress in Brighton on behalf of an NASUWT motion highlighting the devastating impact poverty has on the life chances of children and young people.

The Union’s motion at the TUC Congress in Brighton condemned the government’s record on child poverty as “shameful” and highlighted the way some schools were adding to the problem.

The government was failing to prevent some schools from stockpiling unspent reserves while cutting curriculum provision and axing teaching jobs, it added.

Delegates were also told how those children and young people growing up in poverty are less able to concentrate in lessons, more likely to be absent from school and less able to forge relationships with peers.

Ms Keates said: “Generations of children are being betrayed. Poverty is not a lifestyle choice. Poverty is not something people impose on themselves. We know where the responsibility lies.

“It lies with a government which has obsessively pursued austerity, regardless of the misery it has wreaked on the most vulnerable in our society.

“We cannot allow the Government to continue these economically sadistic policies which are driving families into poverty, poisoning the optimism of our young people and derailing and degrading the life chances of children.”


The motion reads: “Congress deplores the government’s shameful record of increasing the number of children living in households in poverty. Congress condemns government policies which have resulted in the lives of many more children being blighted by debt and financial hardship. Congress further condemns the government’s failure to prevent schools from adding to the misery of children and families by: i. stockpiling billions of pounds in unspent reserves while cutting curriculum provision and axing teacher and support staff jobs ii. exploiting parents by charging for children’s education iii. asking parents to make voluntary financial contributions to school funds. Congress welcomes the actions of affiliates in exposing the abuse by some schools of financial freedoms and flexibilities and undermining the right of every child to free, state education. Congress commits the General Council to press the government to: a. end the misery of poverty and financial hardship on children and families b. protect the right of every child to a broad, balanced and free state education c. take action to prevent schools from contributing to increasing the stigma, hardship and misery on children and families.

TEACHERS NOT EVEN RECEIVING 1% PAY AWARD

Too many schools are awarding inflation-busting pay rises to senior management while many classroom teachers are not even receiving the 1% pay award, the TUC Congress in Brighton heard today.

Speaking in the debate on public sector pay the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union revealed that the average pay award for teachers last year was a paltry 0.6%, even lower than claims by ministers.

Deputy General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said the pay policies of the government had created not just financial hardship for many teachers, but growing inequality.

This was as schools sat on £2.1 billion in unspent reserves, while many claimed they did not have enough money to pay teachers. Some headteachers have been earning in excess of £400,000 a year, Dr Roach said.

He told the TUC: “For many teachers, these pay reforms have meant no guarantee of a pay award or pay progression.

“Instead, research by the NASUWT has demonstrated that too many schools are diverting money away from teachers to fund inflation-busting pay rises for senior managers.

“Last year, the combined effect of the Government’s pay cap and discretionary pay in schools meant that the average pay award for classroom teachers last year was just 0.6%.

“The Government has imposed pay reforms on teachers that have not only created financial hardship for many, but also growing inequality.”

Dr Roach said the growing inequality and institutionalised discrimination in some schools saw some women teachers earning just 85% of their male counterparts and BME teachers earning less than white teachers.

He added: “The fight to end the cap on public sector pay must be our priority. But, our fight must not end there. We must also continue our fight to end the pay cap and end discriminatory pay practices. “Deliver pay justice for all workers, not just the few.”