Schools

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

RMT members on Northern rail struck again on 28 April. The strike was every bit as solid as the previous two days’ action, reducing the company’s service to 40% of its usual level, with scab labour being provided by managers.

The union is yet to announce its next move. It will need to think carefully about what to do next, taking into account the various different situations at different Train Operating Companies around the country.

Drivers crucial to DOO fight; teachers turn up heat on council; RMT protests at sweatshop hotel; Picturehouse can afford to pay!; Tube news round-up.

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How to think beyond and survive the exam season

Author: 

Daisy Thomas

A report on 2 May from the Health and Education Committee of MPs found that government cuts are pushing many schools to scrap or limit mental health help in schools. Daisy Thomas explains why that help is important.

There are a range of mindfulness resources for adults and young people which can start to change the way that mental health is approached, especially in schools.

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Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one.

The Daily Mail front page headline on 19 April summed up how Theresa May sees the election serving her Brexit drive: “Crush the saboteurs”. That is, strengthen her position against all who ask questions, raise criticisms, demand information.

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Around the world: 

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Free schools poor value for money

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

The government’s free schools programme has been condemned as “incoherent and too often poor value for money” by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee.

The committee’s recent report says that the Department for Education is spending “over the odds” on unsuitable sites and building free schools in areas where extra places are not always needed. On the other hand, 60% of state schools are more than forty years old and in need of essential repairs amounting to an estimated £7 billion.

The Department of Education spent £863 million on 175 free school sites between 2011 and 2016. 24 of the sites cost more than £10 million and four cost more than £30 million.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

On Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 April, National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) members at Forest Hill school in Lewisham struck for the fifth time in their on-going dispute against a management proposed restructuring to deal with a £1.3 million deficit. The management’s proposal sheds 15 teaching jobs, significantly increases teachers’ workload, radically reduces the depth of the creative aspects of the curriculum, ends any specialist English as an Additional Language (EAL) support, and massively diminishes the support for students with Special Educational Needs.

Forest Hill teachers strike; cinema workers to strike on May Day; Tube round-up; NUT: close vote on Labour; DOO strikes continue; UCLU cleaners strike.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Janine Booth, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members at Forest Hill School in Lewisham will strike again on 20, 25 and 26 April in their campaign against vicious cuts being imposed by management to fulfil conditions of repayment of loan to Lewisham council. There is a demonstration on Saturday 22 April.

The proposed restructure at the school is in response to a £1.3m deficit. Lewisham council has given the school a “loan” however they are demanding that the school cuts £800,000 from their wage bill.

Forest Hill strikes again; reinstate Lee Cornell!; Night Tube win; RCN to ballot nurses over pay; RMT holds first disabled members conference; train strikes disrupt Grand National; six cinemas on strike; cleaners’ wild-cat strike.

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Labour needs a bold socialist programme for education

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Editorial

It’s about time! Labour has made a policy commitment to impose VAT on private school fees and use the money raised to finance the provision of free school meals for all children in primary schools.

Labour should present a bold, radical vision for education — levelled up and increased school funding, reversing cuts; converting academies and free schools into locally accountable community schools; free, high-quality nursery education and childcare provision; free further and higher education with grants for all students; and much more!

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Maria O’Toole, Paul Abbot and Gemma Short

The Durham teaching assistants and Derby school support staff disputes have been the most significant in local government over the last year. Similar pay cuts of approximately 25%; threats of, or in Derby’s case the actual, imposition of new contracts; Labour councils doing the dirty work for the Tories and spearheading these acts; but on the workers side a strong determination to resist.

Teaching Assistants demonstrate in Durham; Tube station staff balloted for strikes; cinema strikes win celebrity support; not our deficit!

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Grassroots and grammars

Author: 

Colin Foster

Philip Hammond’s Budget on 7 March, while continuing plans for large overall cuts in school funding, allocated money for new “free schools”. Some of those, the Tories, indicate, will be new selective secondary schools, “grammar schools”.

The campaign against new grammar schools should be part of an active, lively, grassroots general campaign against the cuts in school budgets, drawing in students and teachers.

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Fighting school cuts in Lewisham

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

On Wednesday 1 March over 100 people attended a meeting to defend Forest Hill School called by Lewisham National Union of Teachers (NUT). Forest Hill has discovered an £800,000 hole in its budget. The council is insisting on a restructure with the aim of losing £1.3 million off the wage budget. NUT members voted by 97% for strikes to stop compulsory redundancies and any increase to workload.

The government is assigning extra funding to the expansion of the free schools programme; they are also indicating that new free schools will be allowed to be selective.

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