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Education unions announce hustings to put education at the top of the agenda

School leaders’ union, NAHT, and the National Education Union have organised hustings with the prospective parliamentary candidates for the Southampton & Itchen constituency. 

The hustings aim to put education at the top of the political agenda for all parties and determine how candidates will tackle key issues facing the sector.   

So far, hustings are confirmed in Southampton Itchen, Birmingham Edgbaston and Gateshead. More dates will be added throughout the election period. 

The events are open to the public and journalists to attend.   

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This election is a critical opportunity to put education back where it belongs - at the top of the agenda. For too long, education has been sidelined – and parents, leaders and teachers have watched helplessly as funding cuts have wreaked havoc on our children’s education.   

“Investing in the next generation will be the best way to ensure that Britain is fit to meet the challenges facing this country.  We need to hear from the candidates contesting this seat about their plans for schools, and how they will give children the future they deserve.”    

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “During this election all political candidates need to take seriously the critical state of our education system. There must be no doubt that bold reforms are needed to reverse the years of underfunding that have resulted in a school and college system that is running on empty. 

‘School buildings are in a state of disrepair, subjects are being cut from the curriculum, teacher recruitment and retention is at such low levels that many children are not being taught by a specialist teacher while being able to afford extra-curricular activities are all but a thing of the past for many schools. SEND support for our most vulnerable children is practically non-existent. This is a far cry from the ‘world class education’ system politicians strive for and claim they have achieved. Our children and young people, parents, carers, teachers and school staff all deserve so much better. Education is at a crossroads. There needs to be serious investment in education now”.    

Candidates will be asked their views on the issues facing education. 

Questions will be asked of the candidates as to how their party will ensure:  

  • A fully and fairly funded education system where the real terms cuts since 2010 are reversed and all school buildings are restored to satisfactory conditions.  

  • That special educational needs services, including the services that support schools, are properly funded.   

  • That the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention crisis is addressed, by restoring pay to 2010 levels over the next Parliament, tackling the excessive workload, and reforming the punitive Ofsted regime. 


Notes to editors  

NAHT General Election 2024 Hustings | Eventbrite 

NAHT has published its general election manifesto here: https://www.naht.org.uk/Portals/0/Resources/NAHT-Manifesto_2024.pdf?ver=2024-05-22-131822-913   

The National Education Manifesto for the General Election is here 


The events are open to the public, and content can be recorded for broadcast purposes 


First published 17 June 2024