ATL comment on David Cameron's speech on education
9 September 2011
Martin Johnson, deputy general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
"Some of what the Prime Minister said will be supported by all teachers. Of course they are ambitious for their pupils - that's why they are teachers. They support measures which make it easier to get pupils behaving well, although it is not as simple as politicians imagine.
"But much of what David Cameron said is irrelevant to getting youngsters to achieve their very best. The freedoms teachers need are the ones politicians will not give them, the right to use their professional judgement about what and how to teach aided by continual training throughout their careers. They can do without constant fiddling with the types of schools, and without competition between schools because the international evidence shows that competition does not raise achievement.
"What is needed to improve pupil attainment is adequate resourcing for all schools, properly qualified and reflective teachers, and continuing funding for family and youth services to support those pupils and families who need it.
"Alienating the parents of persistent truants is not likely to help - these are the parents who need the most support with their children to get them to participate in education and training."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 160,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.