But according to the Old Etonian standing for the Tories in Carshalton and Wallington, such warnings are but “pointless hyperbole”. HARRY HAMILTON, pictured right, here provides a fine example of why politicians really shouldn’t be patronising towards teenagers
Matthew Maxwell Scott, the Conservative Party’s candidate for Carshalton and Wallington in the General Election on June 8, could not be a better example of how unsympathetic the Tories are towards the struggling public sector.
When I first saw Maxwell Scott at the general election hustings in 2015, he came across as a well-spoken debater and a person who cared about the local community. I was impressed, and I ranked him as the winner of the debate, despite me not necessarily agreeing with his politics. I thought he would listen and act on the concerns of residents.
But after that election, in which he came second to the Liberal Democrat Tom Brake, it was clear that this was a mask, an illusion for the sake of the election. In February this year, Maxwell Scott commented publicly that there were “no cuts to education”.
I confronted him over this clearly false statement, and a long exchange followed on Twitter. Various statistics were put forward to disprove this false conclusion that all schools are absolutely fine and the only problem with our schools is the unions.
Despite all the articles presented, the response from Maxwell Scott to me was “there is no crisis”. To another Twitter user, John Reilly, Maxwell Scott said, “if this is just special pleading from a NUT shill then you’re wasting everyone’s time”.
Eton-educated Maxwell Scott could not be more wrong.
As a 16-year-old student about to take the my GCSEs (including the new ones created by Michael Gove), and with a mother who is a teacher, I encounter the growing crisis in our schools every single day.
Experienced teachers are leaving the profession en masse, some due to retirement and others no longer wanting to struggle to cope with current pressures.
My school struggles to find well-qualified teachers and resorts to hiring inexperienced teachers from abroad for short-term use via agencies. These teachers are usually new to the profession and so struggle to adapt, leading pupils to become alienated, which subsequently leads to pupils not getting the education they deserve.
Essential things such as work experience are being slashed, as our school simply cannot afford the insurance costs to give pupils this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This means students will be lacking in skills when it comes to finding employment.
As the new GCSEs come in, schools need to buy new textbooks and resources to support their pupils. However, they are expensive, and my school is struggling to afford them, therefore students are missing out on materials that could help their education.
What happens in my school is no exception.
Schools will have to save £3billion by 2019-2020. Locally, Sutton schools will lose £12million by 2019, which works out at £419 per pupil. Sutton’s schools are also expected to lose 339 teachers in total. As one local headteacher has said: “We are close to crisis”.
Also, more than 500,000 primary school pupils are being taught in super-sized classes of 30 pupils or more. The more pupils in a class, the less their individual needs will be tailored to resulting in more pupils struggling.
With new, extremely tough GCSEs being introduced this year and next at secondary level, such reduced staffing for classes is likely to result in significantly less passes, and more pupils suffering from mental health problems.
Those are the plain and simple facts. Maxwell Scott denies these exist.
Now, I’m not encouraging people to vote LibDem, they have their own problems to cope with (#SuttonBinsShames anyone?), or any other party.
But I am encouraging people to stand up for our education system and confront those who wish to cause it harm.
- Harry Hamilton is 16 years old and a pupil at a state school studying for his GCSEs. He is the acting Youth MP for Sutton
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