ASCL responds to Secretary of State for Education’s letter

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on a letter sent today from the new Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Phillipson, to all those working in early years, children’s services, schools, further and higher education.
“We welcome the letter from the newly appointed Secretary of State for Education, and her commitment to prioritise education as a cornerstone of national progress.
“We share her desire for a reset in the relationship between the government and the education sector. The past few years have been marked by too much division and discord. Leaders and teachers have too often felt unsupported and have been on the receiving end of poorly conceived policies with cursory consultation.
“A collaborative approach between the Department for Education and unions and professional associations like ASCL is crucial to navigating the myriad challenges facing the education system and the nation.
“We appreciate the Secretary of State’s recognition of the immense challenges faced by our members, including financial pressures, workload issues, and the need for increased support in areas such as special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Her commitment to addressing these challenges and her emphasis on building a fairer society resonates deeply with our mission to ensure every child has access to quality education.
“We recognise that none of these problems have quick and easy solutions. Nevertheless, those solutions must be found.
“Adequate funding remains a critical concern for schools and colleges across the country. We urge the Secretary of State to prioritise securing increased and sustainable funding that reflects the needs of our educational institutions.
“Likewise, the recruitment and retention of quality teachers is fundamental to the success of our education system. We fully support the new government’s initial intention to recruit 6,500 new teachers and we recommend implementing policies that enhance professional development, offer competitive salaries, and improve working conditions to ensure that teaching remains an attractive and sustainable profession.
“There is an urgent need to address the crisis in the SEND system. Many schools are struggling to provide adequate support due to insufficient funding, staffing shortages, and complex bureaucratic processes. Early intervention is crucial in addressing the needs of students with SEND, as it can significantly improve their educational outcomes and overall development.
“We urge the Secretary of State to prioritise reforms that ensure timely assessments, appropriate funding, and the necessary resources to meet the needs of all students with SEND, ensuring they receive the quality education they deserve.
“We look forward to establishing a positive and productive relationship with the Secretary of State. Together, we can create an education system that not only meets the needs of today but also prepares for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.”