England's extreme gap in education achievement is directly connected to its extreme social inequality, says ATL
14 May 2012
Commenting on Nick Clegg's speech, Martin Johnson, deputy general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said:
"It's great that one coalition partner is serious about reducing inequalities, and schools are grateful for the pupil premium. Unfortunately the premium has to be used to plug the gap left by real-terms cuts in schools' main funding. This funding already distributes about £3bn a year on the basis of disadvantage.
"Teachers are very keen to find out what works to improve the achievement of the disadvantaged, because all the ones quoted by Nick Clegg have been widely used for many years.
"Nick Clegg asks: "How can it be that a child's destiny is still determined by their background?" The answer is embarrassingly simple and is well known to Lib Dems - England's extreme gap in education achievement is directly connected to its extreme social inequality, almost the worst in the developed world.
"The coalition government's austerity policies, with its attack on the jobs, pay and conditions and benefits of the less well-off, are increasing the gap.
"The real answer to the achievement gap lies in new economic, industrial and regional policies, not in education policies based on dodgy stats and cheap gimmicks."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 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.