Pledge 4: Universal, Comprehensive Education


‘Karl will be a champion for teaching unions, and a loud voice for young people.’
Five years ago, after working for two years with children in care, I began my career in teaching. My sister was already a teacher in Blackburn. I had seen the satisfaction she got from her job and I wanted the same.
I began teaching when Michael Gove was education secretary. Since I began, there has been a huge number of teachers leaving the profession.
Any teacher will tell you that education has gone through more change in the last few years than anyone can remember. The upheaval has been bad for the profession and stressful for children learning in a confusing period of change.
Some changes are welcome. Assessment has become more rigorous, for example. However, the benefits are nowhere near good enough compensation for the failures in education policy we have seen. Teachers are no longer guaranteed pay progression each year, instead subject to the whims of their managers – some good, some less so – and the changing demands of exam boards. The curriculum has narrowed, so arts subjects are relegated to secondary importance. The Unions have been so ignored in the process that I have been on strike multiple times over five years.
I will be a voice for teachers and children if I am elected to Parliament, just as I have been as NUT rep in my school.
We must stop the disastrous march towards building more grammar schools. They do nothing for social mobility, creaming off middle class children at eleven. They lead to social segregation of those students that have been coached into them and those that have not. I will be a powerful voice for comprehensive state education.
We must demand that the fairer funding formula is actually fair. The Tories are redistributing money away from schools with high needs in inner cities and moving it towards leafy Tory councils.

Levenshulme High School will lose £795,000 in real terms between now and 2019 – that is £807 per pupil, or 23 teachers. Other schools suffer similarly – check to find out how your child is affected. I will ensure that funding goes to the schools and students that have the greatest need.
Though we must pay trainees properly, we must end the ridiculous situation where trainees are given bursaries of up to £25,000 to train, but no money is put into retention of the best experienced teachers.

We cannot continue with a situation where we mass-produce inexperienced teachers only to exhaust them after two years through lack of training. The system does not work for new recruits or experienced professionals. I will call for more focus on retaining the best teachers.
We must stop moving the goalposts on assessment, so children know where they are and what they need to do to succeed. I will call for an end on any more changes to the examination and assessment system.
I will be an ear for teaching unions in Parliament. I will listen to teachers and heads about the situation in their schools and I will fight for children and teachers to get a fair deal from government. When teachers are happy and trusted to have children’s learning at the core of what they do, education improves for all children.

The Tories are doing everything in their power to stop that happening.

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