Schools

From 2008 to fighting capitalism

Author: 

Caroline Jeffries

When the housing bubble burst and a full-blown financial crisis developed in 2008 I was ten years old. I lived in an upper-class neighbourhood, so very few people around me were greatly affected by the crisis. 2008, however, would come to bother me for years after the recession ended.

Becoming a socialist in post-2008 crash America.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Publications: 

Against Borders for Children

Author: 

Joe Booth

On 14 January, I went with another member of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty to the Against Borders for Children (ABC) conference. The event was about fighting for refugee children, and was organised by ABC, a group that allies with teachers and students to fight for refugee children who are being spied on or even arrested by the government.

The NUT has argued that “schools are not part of policing immigration”, and even Ofsted head Michael Wilshaw stated that he was “amazed by it and shocked by it. Schools shouldn’t be used for border control”.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Workers at Picturehouse Cinema’s flagship “Picturehouse Central” location, near London’s Piccadilly Circus, will shortly begin balloting for new strikes, as part of a growing dispute which also involves workers at Picturehouse’s Brixton, Hackney, and Crouch End sites. The ballot, the timetable for which has yet to be announced, is for further strikes to demand the London Living Wage, decent sick pay, and other improvements to workers’ terms and conditions.

More cinemas to join strike; “Second-tier” cabin crew fight back; Durham TAs keep close eye on negotiations; Harrods: pass on tips!; Fujitsu workers strike again; publisher derecognises unions; Merseyside bus drivers strike.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

UK school system bad for children

The Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) rankings were published on 6 December. These put UK schools in the 20s among the 72 countries surveyed.

Socialists don′t put great store by the PISA ratings, which measure different nations academic achievements by testing 15 and 16 year olds in maths, science and reading. However, the UK’s poor results do demonstrate that, even by their own standards, the Tories model for education is failing.

Whilst not perfect, Finland provides an educational model that is more effective and, more importantly, less harmful to children.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Around the world: 

Publications: 

Ofsted prefers middle-class schools

Author: 

Elizabeth Butterworth

Research on Ofsted points to endemic problems in the schools system and inspection regime. Last week, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) released important findings about the fairness of Ofsted reports in England. They found a “systematic negative correlation” between schools with children from poorer backgrounds or lower prior attainment and positive Ofsted judgments.

Schools across England are facing 8% cuts, or 15% in some inner city areas, and despite valiant campaigns from a few, the fightback against these is nowhere near big enough to succeed. The schools system has been hollowed out by the Tories, and schoolworkers, parents and students must work together to get back some control.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

A vicious circle in schools

Author: 

Gerry Bates

Between half-term of summer 2016 and Xmas 2016, over half the maths teachers in the London secondary school where I teach will have quit.

The maths department is more stable than most. Our science department, for example, went through almost a Year Zero in 2015, with almost a complete turnover of staff. And our school is probably more stable than most in low-income areas of London.

Exams which are mindless drill; school management designed above all to mould teachers and students to that drill; and high teacher turnover are all parts of the same vicious circle.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Station staff on London Underground are balloting for strikes, and industrial action short of strikes, against job cuts.

The ballot begins on 1 November and closes a fortnight later. Both the RMT and TSSA unions are balloting their members. London Underground’s “Fit for the Future” restructure programme on stations has seen nearly 1,000 jobs axed and thousands of workers forcibly regraded and displaced.

Strikes ahead on Tube; Ritzy workers give bosses a fright; Durham teaching assistants plan strikes; Southern workers protest at Parliament; IDS not a friend of workers or claimants; Post Office strike; Uber loses in court.

Publications: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Trade Unions: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Tories drop Education Bill

Author: 

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

On 27 October, the government announced that it would drop plans for a new Education Bill any time before summer 2017.

In his last budget statement as Chancellor, George Osborne had announced that all schools in England would be forced to convert to academy status by 2022. The following day, 17 March, the then education secretary Nicky Morgan published a White Paper which outlined the variety of ways in which this goal would be achieved.

Labour should commit to bringing all schools back into a democratic locally-run comprehensive education service and ending the academy experiment.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

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.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

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.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Pages