Ninety three per cent of all children in the UK are taught in state schools. The parents of then other seven per cent may wish to pretend otherwise but the truth is that the prosperity, well being and future of the UK is dependent upon the ability of state schools to deliver the education our young people need. But, as the Guardian has reported, that is in jeopardy:
Britain’s leading expert on school recruitment has warned that a shortage of trainee teachers is reaching crisis levels in some of the most important subjects in the curriculum.
In evidence submitted to the parliamentary education select committee, TeachVac, an independent vacancy-matching and monitoring service for education professionals, said that it had identified a “woeful” lack of new teachers in several key secondary school subjects.
This is not a minor issue. As they note:
[TeachVac] has identified an 85% shortfall in the number of trainee teachers needed to fill vacancies in both business studies and social sciences. The number of new teachers for design and technology is also more than a third below what it needs to be and there is a 10% shortfall in the number of IT teachers required.
These are core subjects at the heart of the skill base the UK needs. And we may not be able to teach them.
There are three reasons for that. First, when the government portrays any job in the state sector as parasitical - and large parts of the media join in - any recruitment programme is going to be hard.
Second, student debt is crippling for those on what is thought to be middle pay, which is what many teachers can, at best, hope to earn.
And third, pay is just not good enough.
All of those are the direct result of policy. The first is ideological. The second is born of the desire to economically enslave people though debt which underpins neoliberalism. The third is the austerity mantra.
Put them together and this country will be crippled by denying an education to those who need and deserve it.
We need a new narrative.
The need to supply high quality education has to be at the core of that narrative.
I hope parents of those ten and younger realise what is going to happen to their children. It is not good, and they need to get angry, now.