Last year, we saw the number of teachers decline by 5,000. The Minister might come up with a statistic today, but teacher numbers are going down. Since 2011, a third of all teachers have left. I spoke to Teach First just the other day in a meeting. The current rate is one in, one out. Does the Minister bear no responsibility for the reforms, the pressures and the lack of pay rises that are the reason why so many great graduates and brilliant people are no longer training the future of our country but are leaving the profession? Does he bear no responsibility at all? Five thousand have left in one year.
Despite the noble effort of staff and teachers, schools are unable to deliver the high-quality education that children deserve because they simply do not have the funding to make ends meet, for either themselves or their schools. The Government’s own analysis has shown that teachers were around £4,000 worse off in 2016, compared with 2010, as a direct result of their policies on pay. Furthermore, the IFS has found that the promised pay rise will see the majority of teachers facing another real-terms pay cut.
Earlier this year, I was shocked to read a BBC article that reported that children were filling their pockets with food from school canteens because they were hungry. This is Tory Britain, 2018. These were children with greying skin. They were malnourished and afflicted with hunger. As a teacher, I know that schools cannot teach children properly if they are hungry in the classroom. That is happening in our country—one that now has 4.5 million children in poverty. That did not happen in a vacuum. Poverty is the grim and logical conclusion to austerity. Its effects are palpable, and its consequences can be irrevocable. If the Government truly want to see standards in education rise, they must do the logical thing and truly end austerity once and for all.