Bridget Phillipson Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South
The Government’s failed approach to industrial relations has led to the worst strikes in decades.
We’ve seen the consequences in our transport network, in our health service, and now in our schools.
But no teacher wants to strike. No teaching assistant wants less time with the children they help. No headteacher wants to close their school. They go into teaching to improve children’s lives.
School staff are the heart of our education system. But they have been let down by thirteen years of neglect by the Conservatives.
Conservative Ministers didn’t take the urgent need to get round the table seriously until it was too late, despite the trade unions balloting their members in the Autumn.
In power, Labour will end the Conservatives’ strikes chaos with a new partnership of cooperation between trade unions, employers and Government meaning issues are resolved before strikes happen.
But until then, the reality is that whilst school staff do an incredible job, under this government they are overworked, overstretched and undervalued.
As a result, teacher vacancies have more than doubled, recruitment targets have been missed once again and more teachers are leaving our classrooms than entering.
A lot of the issues we’re seeing in our NHS also exist in our schools: a growing recruitment and retention crisis created by this government.
Labour has said we will end private schools’ tax breaks to recruit more teachers.
That funding could do so much to drive up standards for all our children.
Through recruiting new teachers and valuing those in the profession, we would work together to help every child thrive.
We will invest in recruiting thousands of new teaching staff, filling vacancies and plugging skills gaps.
That means we can ensure teachers are not burnt out, because they won’t be covering their own job and someone else’s.
Once we get teachers into schools, we’ll support them with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive.
That’s because the most important factor in school for boosting children’s learning and life chances is the quality of teaching.
So teachers will be encouraged to embrace learning opportunities, to give them the skills needed to support children with special educational needs and disabilities, to develop their professional expertise, and more.
Training would ensure every child has a teacher who is confident in their ability to help that child thrive.
And these steps would help the next Labour government ensure every child is taught by a qualified teacher.
Every child and every parent should have that guarantee. Under Labour, they will.