Commenting on the latest report by the Public Accounts Committee 16 to 18-year-old participation in education and training Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union said:

“The NASUWT has warned consistently that the issues highlighted by the Public Accounts Committee today would be the inevitable result of Coalition Government policy.

“When first introduced the legislation had great potential but the changes made by the Coalition have undermined this.

“Legislation requiring all young people to participate in education or training cannot be effective unless local authorities are given resources to monitor compliance and to intervene where necessary to ensure that young people are receiving their entitlement.

“Reductions in local authority capacity to monitor the participation of young people, Ministers' failure to enact the duty on employers to co-operate and the disintegration of the careers service, have all undermined efforts to ensure that all young people continue to learn beyond the age of 16.

“The reckless approach to policy adopted by this Coalition Government since taking office was always bound to result in many young people being lost to the system.

“It is a sad fact that without a significant change in Coalition Government policy in this critical area, too many young people will continue to be short changed and have their future life chances blighted in the ways detailed in the Committee's report.”


The central role which education should play in tackling the widening gap between rich and poor has been highlighted in an international report, launched today at the Financial Times by the Inclusive Prosperity Commission.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, was invited to be a UK commissioner by the Centre for American Progress, which convened a UK-US inquiry, co-chaired by US former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, to examine how to secure an economic recovery which benefits all, not just the few.

Chris Keates said:

“As the political debate intensifies in the run up to the 2015 General Election, the economy is high on the agenda.

“Unsurprisingly, the Coalition Government seeks to present a picture of economic recovery attributable to the strategy it has pursued since 2010.

“But while economists and politicians argue about the extent or otherwise of economic recovery, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of people who have borne the brunt of the Coalition Government’s savage austerity measures continue to feel intense pain, rather than any gain

“Over the last four years the gap between rich and poor has widened and unfairness and inequality have increased significantly.

“The appalling effects can be seen in our schools with children coming to school too hungry to learn because of the scale of poverty and deprivation.

“For too many children access to basic educational experiences is now increasingly on the basis of parents’ ability to pay.

“This unacceptable trend is set to continue, unless post the 2015 General Election we have a government which is committed to an economic policy which has at its heart a universal entitlement for all to access high quality education and which secures inclusive prosperity in which all of the people have the opportunity to share in the wealth of the nation.”

The Inclusive Prosperity Commission report has been published by the Center for American Progress and can be found at