Speech to support NEU’s motion on SEND at #NTUC19

Anya Cook

UCU National Executive

and Branch Secretary at Newcastle College

Chronic underfunding of schools and colleges through privatisation and cuts is leading to failings.

In Northumberland, in October, the combined inspection by Ofsted with the Care Quality Commission into SEND failed spectacularly.

Their report highlights severe staff shortages, severely overworked staff and gaps in communication pathways between agencies.

The symbiotic approach of education, health and care is not working.

The system cannot cope.

I understand this. In 2013 I was tasked by Newcastle College with researching and providing information for senior managers to feed back for consultation on the Draft Code of Practice for SEND which became the Act of 2014.

It was clear 6 years ago that there was no clear focus, that there was no clear lead and it was clear that budgets were not being put in place to manage this symbiosis.

Failings are a direct result of chronic underfunding.

Crises in health, social care and education are combining to bring anxiety and create barriers in people’s lives.

The answer is to end the ideologically-driven Tory Austerity programme which, despite government claims, remains the foundation of our benefits system.

Fund and resource schools and colleges properly from central government.

Pay professional wages, maintain pension funds, fund additional recruitment to reduce workload, reduce teacher stress and encourage teachers to stay in the profession.

Equality issues matter.

Children and young people left behind now may never catch up.

On behalf of UCU – I support this motion.

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