NASUWT says governments education plans are entrenching inequality in our schooling system

Tim Lezard

GoveThe impact of the Coalition’s assault on state education will seriously hamper the future life chances of women and girls, according to the NASUWT.

The union will tell delegates to the TUC’s Women’s Conference the removal of the entitlement of all young people to a broad and balanced curriculum and the ability of academies and free schools to engage in covert practices to select students risks entrenching inequality in our schooling system.

The NASUWT will also highlight the fact that women, who make up the majority of the teaching profession, are also facing growing attacks on their pay, pensions and working conditions as a result of the Coalition government’s assault on state education.

General secretary Chris Keates said: “The major social and economic gains achieved for women and girls as a result of a state education system which is publicly accountable and free at the point of access are being systematically closed down.

“The increasing marketisation of the schools system is leading to a two tier education system where parents and children are being selected on their ability to pay.

“Fundamental entitlements of children and young people to be taught by a qualified teacher and to have access to a broad and balanced curriculum are being stripped away.

“This is a complete betrayal of our children and young people and risks entrenching inequality in our society for decades to come.

“This is why the NASUWT has been engaged in an ongoing campaign of industrial action since 1 December 2011 to defend teacher professionalism and to fight for an education system which provides all children and young people, regardless of their background, with the opportunity to succeed.”

Chris Keates will also tell the conference the removal of important protections designed to tackle sexual bullying and harassment is leaving women and girls vulnerable, both in schools and in wider society.

She said: “Schools have a vital role in play in supporting young people’s emotional and social development. They can help young people develop healthy attitudes and behaviours, as well as supporting young people experiencing abuse.

“With recent research by the End Violence Against Women Coalition suggesting that sexual bullying and harassment is routine in schools and one in three 16-18 year old girls saying they have been ‘groped’ or experienced other unwanted sexual touching at school, it is deeply alarming that the Coalition Government has seen fit to downgrade support for young people in schools.

“This is part of the unrelenting assault which has been mounted on equality by the government, from its neutering of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to its attacks on Equality Impact Assessments.

“Ministers have systematically undermined the Public Sector Equality Duty and introduced a raft of changes which are making it more difficult for people to get access to justice at work.

“The government’s austerity measures are forcing the closure of vital organisations dedicated to providing support for women and girls experiencing domestic violence and rape.

“Ministers have a duty of care to help protect girls and women from all forms of violence and tackle gender inequality and discrimination. This is a responsibility which they must not be allowed to shirk.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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