Schools

No to school uniforms!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Hartsdown Academy, in Kent, sent 50 students home on the first day of term for “incorrect” school uniform.

Nervous 11-year-olds on their first day in big school were turned away because of quibbles about their socks, or buckles on their shoes.Yet the headteacher and the academy chain bosses are defiantly self-righteous. They want to stop the school being “scruffy”.

There is no evidence that wearing costly, awkward, and weird clothes helps learning. School uniforms are unknown in Finland, which comes top in world assessments, and in France and Germany.

School-age children and young people have little enough liberty. Being able to dress as they like is one area where they can have liberty without risk of hurting themselves or anyone else.

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Don’t bring back the 11-plus!

Author: 

Patrick Yarker and Clive Larkin

Any expansion of grammar schools in England will be a mechanism for intensifying social divisions.

The arrival of any new secondary school alters the local educational ecology. The arrival of an entirely selective school has a particularly damaging effect. It drastically recasts the intake of all other schools in an area, and at a stroke turns them, however they are named, into secondary moderns.

Any expansion of grammar schools in England will be a mechanism for intensifying social divisions.

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GCSEs: a pointless misery

Every year, the media report on GCSE and A-level results and how they compare to previous years. Then they forget about until the next August. For students and school workers, however, GCSEs are a constant source of bewildering misery.

Education specialists should be trusted far more to provide assessments of students’ learning, rather than the system relying on an inaccurate “snapshot” in the form of standardised tests. The exam regime acts only as a filter to sift out working class youngsters and has virtually nothing to do with what is best for young people or providing them with socially useful skills.

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“We are the strength behind Corbyn’s leadership”

Momentum activist and teacher trade unionist Laura Rogers spoke at the Jeremy Corbyn rally at Heartlands, Cornwall.

Momentum activist and teacher trade unionist Laura Rogers spoke at the Jeremy Corbyn rally at Heartlands, Cornwall.


As a teacher I know something about bullying and what Jeremy Corbyn has endured would not be tolerated in any classroom. Thank you Jeremy for not being cowed because the other thing we know about bullies is that they act from a place of fear. And they are right to be afraid.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Teachers and lecturers strike and protest on 5 July

Author: 

Peggy Carter and Ben Tausz

Teachers struck on Tuesday 5 July in a well supported national strike for guaranteed terms and conditions across all schools, increased funding to schools, and the resumption of negotiations on teacher workload.

The strike saw large protests. The march in London was overwhelmingly young, and many young teachers told Solidarity sellers that they had joined the Labour Party in the past year.

On Tuesday 5 July, UCU members at 33 universities walked out to coincide with the teachers’ national strike against school funding cuts.

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Teachers: all out on 5 July!

Author: 

Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers Executive (personal capacity)

Members of the largest teaching, union, the NUT, will take strike action on 2 July in England to demand nationally agreed terms and conditions for all teachers in all state-funded local authority and academy schools.

Members of the largest teaching, union, the NUT, will take strike action on 2 July in England to demand nationally agreed terms and conditions for all teachers in all state-funded local authority and academy schools.

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What "balancing the budget" means

Author: 

Martin Thomas

"Crikey, had a great 'win' last week which sent some parents into a storm", boasted Mark Small on Twitter in mid-June.

His firm is a contractor which is paid by local councils to fight parents' claims to get Special Educational Needs provision for their children. As the Guardian puts it, "its success rests on its ability to help cash-strapped local authorities cut the costs of SEN provision".

It also sells training to council officials to help them minimise SEN provision.

A lawyer boasts about how many Special Education Needs applications he has blocked.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Luke Hardy, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Neil Laker

Workers at Pennine Foods in Sheffield have suspended their strikes after negotiations meant bosses agreed not to implement changes to their contracts. Negotiations also got bosses to agree to all employees receiving a lump sum for their 2015 pay rise. Negotiations will continue on the contract and further strikes are not ruled out. The contract changes at Pennine Foods were in order for bosses to try to recoup some of the money from implementing the government′s new ″living wage″.

Bosses dodge “living wage”; Camden teachers striking to stop job cuts; bosses make £11m profit, workers get 16p; cleaners fight back against sackings; ScotRail guards vote for strikes; Durham County Council sacks all teaching assistants; Capita workers strike over pay cuts.

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Lewisham fights academisation... again

Last year, teachers, students and parents in Lewisham ran a campaign that successfully fought off the threat of academisation to four schools in the borough. Activists were confident that this left them in a good position to launch a vibrant campaign against the government’s proposals for forced-academisation contained in the recent White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere.

Teachers, parents and students are fighting back against the conversion of schools into “exam factories”, with “success” measured by grades and the amount of money siphoned off to the bosses and their cronies.

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Academies: force a real u-turn!

Author: 

Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers Executive (personal capacity)

Facing a storm of protest, the government announced on 6 May what appeared to be a significant U-turn. Legislation to force academy status was dropped.

However, the Tories have not retreated from their objective to turn all schools into academies. They will now pursue this aim through a number of different routes.

Forced academies are an attack on local democracy. They remove the role of local elected councils in managing the school system, replacing them with private organisations with no accountability (and no requirement for governors).

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