Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“Hard as the Chancellor tried in his Autumn Statement, he could not conceal the fact that real terms cuts will continue to hit public services.

“Today, there are more children living in poverty in households where adults are in work, than those children living in poverty where adults are not working. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will be cold comfort to them. 3.7 million children live in poverty in the UK today and yet the Chancellor pledges to continue to cut vital financial support for families.

“The Coalition Government claims it is committed to social mobility. Health, housing and poverty are three factors which are key to children’s educational attainment. Strategies to deliver on these three issues for children and young people are noticeable by their absence.

“The Chancellor’s ideological pursuit of austerity economics is continuing to take its toll on our public services and has led to economic misery for millions of ordinary working people and their families.

“The Coalition Government’s own figures confirm that across the economy real earnings have fallen by 1.6% over the past year, and that earnings have continued to fall year after year for seven consecutive years, the longest period of falling earnings since records began.

“Key workers in public services have faced a succession of pay freezes and pay caps. Teachers’ pay has also fallen well behind the rising cost of living with a cut of 15% in real terms. Now teachers and other public service workers face pay restraint to the end of the decade, representing even deeper cuts to pay to those who work day in day out to deliver essential services.

“This announcement comes at a time when over 50% of teachers are reporting their school has still not paid them the miserly 1% cost of living pay award to which they were entitled from September 1.

“Teacher morale is at an all-time low with over 61% having considered leaving the profession altogether in the last year. There is now a real risk that the country will not have the teachers it needs to secure its future.

“Further cuts to public spending on education will only serve to undermine economic recovery and future prosperity.”


Commenting on the speech by Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt setting out measures to foster greater links between independent and state schools, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“Access to high-quality education should be the entitlement of all children and young people, irrespective of where they are educated.

“Mr Hunt’s speech highlights the fact that private schools already benefit from taxpayer subsidies and that they should have a role to play in contributing to meeting the needs of all children and young people.

“Many schools in the independent and state sectors are already working together.

“Collaboration and partnership between schools is critical to success, provided that such partnerships are established on an equal footing. It would be wrong to infer that state schools are not good enough or that independent schools have nothing to learn from the state sector.

“There is currently a diversity of provision in the state sector and it is right that all state schools should also be enabled to work together to share expertise and to meet the needs of all children and young people across their areas.

“The public has a right to expect all political parties to be setting out clear expectations for all schools, including academies, free schools, voluntary aided or local authority maintained schools, to be working together effectively in the interests of all children and young people.”