NUT delegates denounce Sats, as union paves way for boycott

Six unions will join forces in demonstrations over education budgets Christopher Furlong  Getty Images

Six unions will join forces in demonstrations over education budgets Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said that in the case of the closed UTCs, an average of £10 million was spent on one school, though this figure rose to £15 million in one case for a college in Tottenham.

Mr Courtney said: "The Conservatives did not include this in their 2015 manifesto".

It came a day after he laid down an ultimatum to Education Secretary Justine Greening to increase government funding for schools by the Autumn Budget or risk strike action.

And a prominent parent campaigner told the conference that kids were sitting in classrooms in their hats and coats because the heating had been turned off - and backed teachers' strikes.

The schools will collectively create around 69,000 places for pupils, Ms Greening said.

'At a time when head teachers across England and Wales are crying out for sufficient funds to run their schools, provide pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum and retain teachers and support staff, the Government is proposing to lavish scarce education funding on a policy which all the evidence confirms will undermine the high standards of education that comprehensive schools have been able to achieve in the decades since selective education was ended in most parts of the country.

Nearly seven in ten teachers (69%) said that pupils' social well-being was negatively affected by holiday hunger, while more than half (57%) of the 600 surveyed said their physical health was impacted.

"It is now time to drop these failed programmes and focus on what works".

The vote comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May implements a policy that includes the expansion of grammar schools, which are schools that select students based on a test taken at age 11.

It maintains that parents have a right to expect testing in schools, to show whether their children are leaving primary school with the right skills in maths and literacy.

Industry leaders have also protested at the free school plans, which they said earmark billions for state-of-the-art buildings to be created while local authority schools struggle on in desperate need of fix.

The conference called for the union's existing national strike mandate from June previous year to be invoked in regions particularly affected by school funding cuts.

The Department for Education said free schools were popular with parents and their creation had given parents more choices in finding good local schools. "I think the Government's probably going to be enabling new selective schools to open anyway".

Free schools are new state schools that are not under local council control and have freedom over areas such as staff pay and the curriculum.

More than one-third (37%) said they saw pupils returning after the school holidays showing signs of being malnourished after starving for extended periods.

Jessica Edwards, a member of the NUT's executive, said testing was "damaging children - it's damaging their education, it's damaging their self-esteem".

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