A letter from Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT 

Dear Editor

For too long, our children’s education has been sidelined and underfunded. The general election is a critical moment for politicians of all parties to change this.

Parents and teachers will be expecting politicians to explain how they will solve the growing crises in education – affecting everything from crumbling, unsafe school buildings, to the worst teacher recruitment and retention crisis in a generation, and special educational needs provision - where there is a huge and increasing mismatch between children’s needs and the resources available for schools to support them.

School leaders and their staff nevertheless do everything in their power to ensure children receive the best possible education. But it is becoming harder to shield pupils from the impact of these problems.

NAHT’s election manifesto for England sets out solutions to the crises facing our schools which have been informed by dedicated school leaders who know better than anyone what is needed.

We are calling for immediate practical steps – including urgent plans to invest in school buildings, help for schools to support children with special educational needs, and the school workforce.

A series of pay rises are needed for teachers and school leaders over the course of the next parliament to restore the value of pay following years of real-terms cuts and once again make teaching a competitive graduate career.

All candidates and political parties must prioritise education in this election campaign, and heed these proposed solutions - committing the funding to deliver them and help ensure all children receive the education they deserve.

Doing so is not only vital for children’s learning and social development, it will also set them up for a happy and productive adulthood in which they contribute to the country’s future economic prosperity.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT