“Must do better” – teaching unions tell government after Sutton Report
Teaching unions have responded to the publication today of the Sutton Trust’s report into social mobility.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “The Sutton Trust’s findings of stalling social mobility and young people’s pessimism about their life chances make depressing reading but we know that education has the potential to change this. The report says that improvements in social mobility could boost GDP and our further education colleges are uniquely positioned to achieve this.
“They are key to providing technical education and apprenticeships, and are used by 80% of disadvantaged students before the age of 24. But successive governments have failed them, seeing them as easy targets for cuts and the austerity agenda. Colleges must be better funded to deliver vocational routes and professional qualifications, especially as we seek to improve people’s skills post-Brexit.”
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “The Sutton Trust report shows that the public agree that government’s treatment of the further education sector is draconian.
“Since 2009, cuts of 14% to funding for young people in FE, and 35% to adult learning budgets, have clearly impacted social mobility and limited people’s life chances. If young people are unable to access skills education because there is less money in colleges this will limit their ability to get the first step on the career ladder. Cuts to budgets also mean that adults are unable to improve their skills or retrain if they lose their job.”
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “This report signally fails to address the misery, woeful treatment and exploitation experienced by thousands of supply teachers working for agencies, this is a huge missed opportunity, only compounded by the suggestion that there is no need for government to act.
“While new ways of working and employing people are constantly being created, exploitation is as old as the hills. The test for all these recommendations must be do they effectively tackle exploitation and prevent those who would engage in it from being able to do so?
“The failure to truly address this issue, especially in school environments, is not only leading to many great teachers being driven out of the profession, but is all the more shocking given the review’s suggestion that teachers need to take greater responsibility for educating young people for the future world of work.
“The government must act immediately and take direct action to strengthen the enforcement of the Agency Workers’ Regulations if it is to genuinely deliver fairness at work for agency workers. It must also set out a coherent strategy that secures the rights of all workers.”
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