Schools

The schooling of “Jihadi John”

Author: 

Stuart Jordan

The revelation that three high-profile Islamist militants, including Mohammed “Jihadi John” Emwazi, attended Quintin Kynaston school in North West London, has prompted Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan to call for an inquiry into the school. The history – which reads like a socialist parable – will be lost on Morgan, but it is worth retelling.

The revelation that three high-profile Islamist militants, including Mohammed “Jihadi John” Emwazi, attended Quintin Kynaston school in North West London, has prompted Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan to call for an inquiry into the school. The history – which reads like a socialist parable – will be lost on Morgan, but it is worth retelling.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Schools for students, not for markets

Author: 

Editorial

For the Tories, education is about training children and young people to follow instructions and to jump through stereotyped hoops, and grading them accordingly.

That approach works poorly even to develop job skills, and very poorly to help young people become confident, cooperative, practically-competent, informed, critically-minded, imaginative thinkers.

The teachers' unions and the whole labour movement should campaign for the reorganisation of education on democratic, accountable, emancipatory lines.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Free schools failing

Author: 

Gemma Short

Durham Free School, one of the government’s state-funded schools outside of local authority control, has been forced to close after being rated inadequate by Ofsted.

Shortly after, Grindon Hall, a free school in Sunderland, was judged by Ofsted to require urgent improvements. Ofsted criticised the school, which is a Christian faith school, for failing to teach its pupils about diversity of race, religion and sexuality in British society. They also found that the school was not tackling “prejudice-based bullying” or pupils’ use of racist and homophobic language.

The free school programme, as with academies, means state funds are funneled into schools that are not accountable in any way to local authorities or local people.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Teachers: cut the hours!

Author: 

A London teacher

Nicky Morgan replaced Michael Gove as education minister in July. Tory prime minister David Cameron wanted her to continue Gove's drive for academies and free schools, but smooth the sharp edges and win back some of the Tories' lost support among teachers and others concerned with schooling.

She asked teachers for ideas on easing workload, in a survey which closed on 21 November, and says she will announce plans in the New Year.

Some schools put heavy pressure on teachers to be on site between 7.30 am and 6 pm; and, unlike in other countries, there is no set limit on classroom hours.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

The socialist answer to UKIP

Author: 

Editorial

Tory defector Douglas Carswell became UKIP’s first elected MP on 9 October, and another Tory defector, Mark Reckless, may win on 20 November in Rochester and Strood. We examine UKIP’s manifesto.

UKIP: “Migrants are a drain on UK resources, including benefits and NHS”

A socialist response to UKIP's mainfesto.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Control at the top, ferment below

Author: 

Martin Thomas

It was advertised in the Labour Party conference fringe guide as an NUT (National Union of Teachers) meeting with Tristram Hunt, the Labour shadow minister for education, but turned out to be something different and more interesting.

It started earlier than advertised in the guide. When I got there, the room was already full, with maybe 100 people. NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney was there, but it was not an NUT meeting. It was an hoc event organised by an individual activist, Emma Hardy-Mattinson. And Hunt was not scheduled there.

There is more left-wing feeling in the Labour Party ranks than you’d guess from the very-controlled proceedings inside the Manchester Central conference centre.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Stop humiliating students!

Author: 

Gemma Short

At the start of term 50 students at Heaton Manor school in Newcastle were put into isolation and issued with detentions for wearing “the wrong uniform”. The school has insisted that a certain type of trousers be worn, saying students should not wear “tight fitting trousers or leggings”.

This is not an isolated case, it has similarities to a movement in the US against sexist dress codes in schools (where there are usually no uniforms) and colleges.

Those movements have been highlighting dress codes that ban short skirts or shorts, “spaghetti strap tops” or tight trousers.

Schools should not be a place where problems in society are reinforced and even taught. They should be a place where they are challenged.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

The Etonian plutocracy

Author: 

Matt Cooper

Only 7% of people in the UK went to fee-paying schools, but they dominate all the top jobs which are central to the running of the state. 71% of top judges, 62% senior armed forces officers and 55% and the highest ranking civil servants.

A report by the not-left-wing academic government policy unit, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (28 August) says advantage is bought via the top fee-paying schools which fast track children into the top universities, particularly Oxford and Cambridge.

Only 7% of people in the UK went to fee-paying schools, but they dominate all the top jobs which are central to the running of the state.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

The Tyrant Died Bravely

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Hang the bastard? They have. Saddam Hussein was hanged in Baghdad on 30 December. He should have been hanged a long time ago!

It is a great pity it was not the Iraqi workers, but the invaders and the Shia-dominated government of Iraq, that, 40 years too late, put the hangman’s rope around Saddam’s wretched neck.
The most surprising thing about the circumstances surrounding the hanging of Saddam Hussein is the international reaction to it.

Mourn a million dead Iraqis, not Sadam Hussein! .

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

When priests rule: An Irish horror story all workers should learn from

Author: 

Solidarity

An 81 year old retired Irish cardinal, Desmond Connell, has gone to the High Court in Dublin for a writ to stop his successor as Archbishop of Dublin from handing over church files on paedophile priests to a state-organised inquiry into clerical abuse of children.

The Catholic people of Ireland are now once again, in the grotesque Cardinal Connell affair, being unpleasantly reminded of what rule by priests, bishops, and cardinals sometimes has meant for them.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Pages