THE ASSOCIATION of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru (ATL Cymru), National Union of Teachers Cymru (NUT Cymru) and Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (UCAC) have joined forces to hold the most important education hustings for the teaching profession in the build up to the Welsh election on May 5.
The event, which will be held at the The Futures Inn hotel in Cardiff Bay, will be chaired by the Western Mail’s Education Correspondent Gareth Evans and will see Huw Lewis AM (Welsh Labour), Andrew RT Davies AM (Welsh Conservatives), Simon Thomas AM (Plaid Cymru) and Aled Roberts AM (Welsh Liberal Democrats) each make their pitch for the electoral support of teachers.
NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said: “We are delighted that the four education spokespeople for the main parties at the Assembly, including the Education Minister, have agreed to be scrutinised on their vision for education in Wales by the very individuals who will be tasked with delivering it.
“I think the willingness of the panellists to take part in this event goes to show the respect they have for the profession. The fact that we have come together as three unions to facilitate this debate on behalf of our members, and indeed members of other unions who will be attending, goes to show the strength of unity there is amongst the profession at the moment.
“It is crucially important that education professionals have confidence in whichever political party is running education in Wales after the election and this is a positive first step to building that relationship.”
Dr. Philip Dixon, Director of ATL, said: ‘This promises to be an exciting evening. We have a stellar line up of politicians – the outgoing minister, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, and shadow ministers from Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems. We will also have an impressive line-up of teachers, heads and support staff who will want to put them through their paces.
“Education is one of the two big spenders of the Welsh Government’s budget. It is right that it becomes the focus of attention in the run up to the election. We will want to hear from the parties about the policies and proposals, and we will want them to hear from us about what has and hasn’t worked, what needs to be done – and what needs to be invested in education to get it done.
“Teachers are used to being at the receiving end of politicians’ strictures. These hustings, filled with representatives from across Wales will help turn the tables and let our would-be-rulers know what we want and expect from them. There will be a clear message that we must put education first if we want Wales to succeed.’
UCAC General Secretary, Elaine Edwards, said: “According to Elaine Edwards, UCAC’s General Secretary, “Education policies have an impact on the job prospects, career opportunities and the quality of life of people of all ages. They can make or break individuals, families and communities. Without the benefit of valuable lifelong learning opportunities people of all ages and backgrounds are denied important choices. This is why this event is so important.”
“As unions we are working together to ensure that education is at the heart of the Welsh Election Agenda.”
“Education is not just about schools, colleges and universities; above all it is about people and society. A thriving education system leads to a thriving economy and a highly skilled workforce in health, public services, business and industry,” she added.
“We hope that people of all backgrounds will join us at this key event about the very future of Wales.”