ATL and NUT respond to Labour leader’s conference speech

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The Labour Party should reverse the break-up and privatisation of the schools system if it wants to be seen as serious on education, says the NUT.

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s proposals for education, in his speech today at Labour Party Conference, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “If the Labour Party is serious about an education system which benefits all and not the few, we need to see a reversal of the break up and privatisation of our schools system. It also needs to be well-funded. A world class education system cannot be built on the cheap.”

She continued: “If a Technical Baccalaureate is a step towards an over-arching diploma which recognises both vocational and educational achievement, this is to be welcomed, as are well-funded and meaningful apprenticeships.

“What is important for young people is for them to know that there is a parity of esteem between their successes. What must not happen is a system which forces children to choose which educational route they take at the age of 14 – this is neither necessary nor fair.

“We need a proper debate on the future of the examination system especially in light of the intention to increase school participation age to 18. It really is vitally important that teachers are consulted in this process. Failure to do so will continue down the path of change being implemented on whims and fancies, not sound educational evidence and advice.”

Nansi Ellis, head of education policy at the ATL said: “If it is true that Ofqual has abandoned a promise to ensure all major exam reforms are piloted before being made, we fear English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) won’t be worth the paper they are written on.

“It is crucial that any major reform of qualifications is piloted properly. It is nonsense for Ofqual to say that the big issue for EBCs will be about having a single exam board for each subject and the consequent impact on the market. Monitoring and evaluation over time are essential to ensure that teachers, examiners and support staff are fully trained in the new qualification requirements before they are introduced to learners, and to ensure that the exams themselves have been sufficiently developed and modified to meet the required standard.”


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