Ruth Cadbury MP Discusses Education
Meets with NUT members at local AGM
Hounslow Teachers' Association is the local branch of the National Union of Teachers. With over 1800 members it is the largest teachers' union in the Borough of Hounslow. It is not affiliated with any political party.
They invited Ruth Cadbury MP to speak at their AGM held on Wednesday. Hounslow is covered by two Labour MPs, Seema Malhotra in the west and Ruth to the east. Ruth hot-footed it up from Brighton where she had been attending the Labour Party conference.
After having been a ward councillor for over 25 years, mainly in Brentford, Ruth talked about the contrast between being able to get things done, from zebra crossings to formulating local policies, with being an MP in opposition and having very little power. However being an MP does mean that people listen to you who otherwise wouldn't.
Clarification was sought as to whether Labour intended to just stop creating new free schools and academies and/or to bring existing ones back under local authority control. The need for capital funding to be under local authority control was also firmly expressed.
Jeremy Corbyn in his speech wants "Every school accountable to local government." Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary said "we will ensure there is strong local oversight and accountability of all schools... There will be no more Free Schools and academy chains will made accountable".
An Australian teacher spoke of the impossibility of getting his qualified status recognised in England.
The "six year rule" by which migrants not earning £35,000 will face deportation will also impact on teachers from overseas currently teaching in the UK system.
Several teachers spoke of the difficulty of recruiting new staff, especially in Science and Maths, with vacancies remaining open for over a year.
Teachers are no longer well-informed about the non academic routes to further education and training with the wide range of pathways open to them and therefore find it very difficult to suitably signpost students.
Equally graduates considering teaching are confused about the various routes into teaching as a career.
Also of concern is the intention to reduce the current Continued Professional Development Centre where the meeting was held, by half, without consulting on the impact. The CPD Centre provides a vital training space for child protection and training for newly qualified teachers (NQT).
No meeting on education would be complete without a brief discussion on the difficulties of finding and funding suitable sites for new schools like Nishkam School and Floreat Brentford and the amount of power Hounslow Council can or can't wield.
Ruth Cadbury listened attentively to the views expressed, sharing many of the concerns. However she did advise that a Labour government would be necessary to address many of them!
October 2, 2015