Education leaders in England are campaigning to keep the lights on in schools and universities, as they fear the cost of living crisis will hammer them, but they will not be a priority for the government.Staff badly need pay raises, and students suffer, but income is not keeping up with costs. And with a change in leadership at No 10, there is little hope of help from the government.
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Campaigning groups call on the new Prime Minister to prioritise education and invest in schools and universities. Otherwise, they warn, the whole system could collapse.
According to one estimate, schools in England need an extra £7.1 billion annually to keep up with rising costs. And universities are also struggling, with many announcing job cuts and course closures.
This is a national crisis that requires urgent action. The new Prime Minister must prioritise education and invest in our schools and universities. Otherwise, the whole system could collapse.
Liz Truss, in particular, made only two policy pledges involving schools or universities: backing an expansion of grammar schools and offering mandatory Oxbridge interviews for able school-leavers. She was silent on problems such as the persistent attainment gap between the poorest and richest pupils.
Natalie Perera, the chief executive of the Education Policy Institute, said: “I think the cost of living will potentially dominate public policy. That’s not necessarily wrong because it is an immediate issue for many families. But it shouldn’t, in theory, stop the Department for Education from taking action on other fronts.”
Perera added that it was vital that the government invest in education so that all children had the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background. “The bottom line is we need to make sure that we are investing in the future skills of our workforce and the future productivity of our economy,” she said.
The government has promised a review of university funding, but it is unclear when this will happen or what it recommends. Universities are already facing cuts to their teaching budgets, and many struggles to maintain high standards.
There is a real risk that the quality of education in England will decline unless the government takes action soon. This would be a disaster for our country and must be avoided at all costs.
What do you think the government should do to invest in education? Let us know in the comments below.
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