Teachers’ union leader slams Government’s ‘absolute failure’ over Britain’s crumbling schools 

'We need a government that views children as an investment, not a financial burden'

The leader of the UK’s top teachers’ union has ripped into the Government for its “absolute failure” to properly fund schools, following further revelations into the state of Britain’s crumbling classrooms. 

Schools across the country have been struggling to cope with urgent building repairs and mounting maintenance costs, BBC Panorama has been exposing, with schools unable to claim extra money for repairs to tackle leaks and cold. 

During the winter, head teachers reported they have struggled to keep children warm in buildings “not fit for purpose” whilst being told they don’t qualify for extra repairs money. 

This means schools are in devastating conditions of damage and decay, with one secondary school in North Yorkshire reporting some lessons being taught in marquees because two-thirds of its buildings were unusable after the potentially dangerous concrete RAAC was discovered. 

Commenting on the latest investigation into the state of British school buildings, Daniel Kebede, who became General Secretary of the National Education Union last year, stressed that the failings lay firmly at the feet of the Government.   

Kebede wrote on X: “Make no mistake this is absolute failure from government.

He went on: “Their own “Office for Government Property” state it requires £7bn to maintain the school estate. This government spends a 1/3 of that… Our children absolutely deserve better than this. 

“We need a government that views children as an investment, not a financial burden.”

Research by the Labour Party found that spending on rebuilding schools fell 45% since 2019. The amount spent runs from £765 million in 2019 to £560 million in 2020-21, and then to £416 million in 2021-22.

(Image credit: Sky News / YouTube)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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