By Claire West
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, has written to the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove challenging the Chancellor's assertion that the education budget was 'protected' in the recent Comprehensive Spending Review announcement and pointing out that in the space of a week the NASUWT has received redundancy notices for over 1,200 staff.
Chris Keates said:
"The description of the education budget as protected may have lulled schools into believing that the proposed cuts might not be as bad as predicted..
"Nothing could be further from the truth.
"The £2.5 billion pupil premium, has proved to be nothing more than spin and illusion. The Treasury figures show that it is not additional and only 25% will be available in the first year. The school budget has been raided to provide the funding.
"The loss of distinct grants for one-to-one tuition, extended services, every child programmes and the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant for example, means that there is no guarantee that the specific needs of those pupils at which these grants were targeted originally will be met.
"The savage cuts imposed on local authorities threaten vital programmes of support on which schools rely.
"The impact on teachers and on the school workforce of the CSR settlement will be profound.
"The CSR settlement will result in extensive job loss across the board, despite Coalition Government claims that the frontline will be protected.
"Redundancy notices from local authorities for centrally employed staff, including teachers, who provide vital specialist provision for schools, already total over 1,200. The NASUWT is already receiving contacts from teachers advising that their schools have stated that redundancy notices are being planned.
"No aspect of educational provision has been left unscathed by the financial settlement.
"If these cuts were driven by a genuine desire to tackle the deficit, the Coalition Government would stop the plans for new academies and free schools, end the financial lunacy of each of the 22,000 schools being individual, independent spending units, place a cap on school balances and redistribute across the service the £2billion plus held in school balances, reinstate the role of the local authority in procurement and abandon the deeply flawed market philosophy which is clearly the driving force behind policy of more 'freedom' and 'autonomy' for schools.
"It would also adopt the Robin Hood Tax on bankers' financial transactions which could halve the UK's deficit in one year.
"The NASUWT has already submitted a ten point alternative plan to tackle the deficit to the Chancellor.
"The CSR settlement for education will result in a significant decline in standards, the neglect of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and a deep crisis in staff morale and teacher recruitment and retention.
"The NASUWT is pledged to campaign for public support against the cuts and resist vigorously any assault on jobs, working conditions and pensions."