Letter to Editor: “Tories have devalued the teaching profession”
By Chris Vince:
Labour candidate for Little Parndon and Hare Street
In response to Cllr Hardware’s letter I would like to point out to him that having been a teacher for nearly thirteen years I have a great deal of experience of the changes caused by the academisation of our schools. Although I have been very lucky with the employers I have had I do have friends and former colleagues in the profession who have experienced some of what I spoke about in my initial letter. I would also like to point out to Cllr Hardware and a number of his Tory colleagues that my home in Rivermill is very much in Harlow. I have been made to feel very welcome by residents of Little Parndon and Hare Street and look forward to continuing to work with the local community in the lead up to the by-election on the 8th of March and afterwards.
He is correct that the problem of school places was not entirely created by academies in Harlow, although in other parts of the country the problem of school places has almost certainly been created by turning schools into academies.
The main issues that schools actually face in Harlow and across the country is recruitment and retention, particularly in my subject Mathematics, with many schools filling spaces with non subject specialists, and this issue can be laid squarely at the feet of this Tory administration. Not only have they cut the number of routes into the teaching profession they have also constantly devalued our profession. We need to provide more routes into teaching, including by working with universities, not to mention taking action to ensure our teachers are not overworked and undervalued and work to create a truly national education service we can be proud of. The Tories will claim that funding for schools has not decreased yet the educational services grant, which was cut by 75% two years ago is now all gone completely leading to more and more pressure being put on our head teachers to fully fund schools. Recruitment and retention issues also apply to senior leadership teams as well.
Cllr Hardware describes my language as sensationalist. I would say in fact it is just passionate. As someone who has seen first-hand the damage the Tory government has made to the education of young people in this country I do feel very passionate about it. As for his allegation that I was electioneering, that is the third factual error in his piece. When I wrote the piece the by-election hadn’t even been called. It’s no wonder that someone who has an interest in the academy program should jump to defend it but please never question my commitment not only to the teaching profession but also to my local community and get your facts straight.
Other candidates are:
John Steer (Cons)
Patsy Long (Ukip)
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