Teenagers are forced into dead-end jobs, say union
Teenagers are being diverted on to a dirt track of "low pay, zero hours and dead-end jobs", a teachers' leader has warned.
Many youngsters are now denied access to the "education superhighway of opportunity" as a result of major government reforms, according to Graham Dawson, president of the NASUWT.
In his speech to delegates on the opening day of the union's annual conference in Cardiff, he claimed that young people's life chances have been narrowed by a focus on core academic subjects at GCSE, the trebling of tuition fees and a rise in unpaid internships.
He said: "How dare any government, especially one largely privately educated, restrict the life chances of so many of our children by deliberately limiting their educational opportunities?
"How dare they charge £9,000 a year for university tuition? How many of you here would have taken that option?
"Can you afford to support your children to work as an unpaid intern, as many professional occupations demand?
"Instead of the education superhighway of opportunity, they are diverted onto the dirt track of low pay, zero hours and dead-end jobs.
"As guardians of the profession, we must speak up for all those children in our country with no voice, no hope and no future."
Earlier in his speech, Mr Dawson, a special and additional needs teacher from Tyneside, had warned that schoolchildren are being denied access to a wide range of opportunities and subjects because schools are under pressure to focus on core academic subjects at the expense of others.
"Education is more than five A to Cs," he said. "Education leads to worlds of wonder and opportunity. Not a narrow corridor, confining and restricting children."