How teaching persuaded me that I must join Labour
(By Tom Williams)
I started training to be a teacher in 2009. By the time I qualified, we had a Conservative-led coalition government, so over the last eight years, I have witnessed the devastating effects of Tory policy on primary schools. Obviously, pretty much the first thing they did came for our pensions. That's almost a side issue for me though.
For me, the genuinely heart-breaking thing has been the way children have suffered. Support staff have diminished, meaning that children who need more support no longer get it. This has a knock-on effect on every child in every class. So as well as NQTs buying glue sticks and feeding poverty-stricken kids out of their own pockets, we now see pretty much every child getting less adult attention than they would have under Labour. This affects not just their learning, but also their emotional wellbeing. Even by the Conservatives' own capital-obsessed rationale, cutting funding for schools is nonsense. Bizarrely, this government don't see schools as economic multipliers. They can't seem to grasp that children having a proper education helps the economy as well as helping the children.
And it's not just cuts to schools that are destroying the lives of children. As teachers, we are often in contact with other similarly under-resourced bodies, for example, social services and the police. We also deal with parents forced to work every available hour for derisory wages, meaning that their children are almost necessarily under-parented. Most teachers don't see themselves as heroes or martyrs- we're just people who want to help, and perhaps have some fun while we do so. The only party that will help us do that is Labour.