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POVERTY and profiteering are damaging children’s chances in education, teachers warned today as they called for a reversal of cruel Tory welfare policies.
A motion moved by the National Education Union at TUC Congress called for the government to “implement a comprehensive child poverty reduction strategy,” which includes increasing benefits in line with inflation and ending the two-child benefit cap and “rape clause.”
NEU president Amanda Martin said: “It cannot be denied that a situation that sees millions of kids in poverty has grown from 2010 onwards.”
The motion called for an expansion of funding for special educational needs and disability services.
Ms Martin noted that the scrapping of Sure Start had left schools as “the only front-line service for so many families that have nowhere to turn.”
Andrene Bamford, from the Education Institute of Scotland, concurred: “As a union we are disgusted by the two-child cap in benefits.
“The cost of education adds up and right now it’s children who are paying for the government’s austerity policies.”
Delegates also touched on the Tories’ feted proposals for increasing school funding but warned it was likely to amount to a charade.
“This musn’t be an exercise in cosmetic presentation to win an election, but it must be a genuine attempt to improve our education system for children and young people,” NASUWT delegate Alan Hackett said.
A NASUWT motion calling for a “broad and balanced curriculum” was also passed, citing “the loss of subject specialist teachers in many schools, driven by failed government policies, lack of funding for education and the failure of schools to invest in teachers.”
The Artists’ Union England called for art, drama, music, languages and other creative subjects and humanities to be “given equal weight to Stem subjects” in schools.
And delegates passed a motion from train drivers’ union Aslef which called on the TUC “to lobby the UK Parliament and devolved legislatures to include in the secondary curriculum special education on the history of trade unionism and collectivism.”
An amendment from the Communication Workers Union said the TUC could support unions in training speakers to send into schools.
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