UK government attempt to gag teachers as cuts deepen
21 September 2018
The broad-based opposition to massive austerity in education has provoked a threatening directive from the UK Conservative government to school staff to stay silent on the terrible impact the cuts are having on education.
An update issued by the government’s Department for Education (DfE) to all schools as they returned from the summer break—billed as departmental advice for school leaders, governing bodies and local authorities—contained a new paragraph with a blunt statement in a staff management section.
In the document titled, “Staffing and employment advice for schools,” the section reads: “All staff have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately in terms of their behaviour, the views they express (political views) and the use of school resources at all times, and should not use school resources for party political purposes.”
A DfE spokesman added, “This update simply brings … guidance in line with the law, which makes clear that headteachers and local authorities must not promote partisan political views in school.”
The warning, first reported by the Schools Week newspaper, comes after campaigns by school leaders over budget cuts since 2016, which included lobbies of parliament by head teachers and letters sent to parents across the UK informing them of the impact of cuts, and calling on them to lobby MPs.
The government reaction, to what is a very limited opposition organised by the trade unions, must be seen as a warning, that not only will school cuts continue unabated, but that the government will move forcefully against any attempts to block their agenda.
Austerity has had a devastating impact on sectors in education across all regions.