Schools

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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Education, not exam factories!

Author: 

Editorial

Between 16 May and 29 June, students in Britain’s schools will write around 16 million exam papers. A scurry of marking will then, in August, produce a stream of gradings, which will be used to exert market-type discipline on students, teachers, and schools.

Notionally exams are a way to test knowledge and skills. Exams which really do that, and certify people as competent to be surgeons or surveyors, make sense. But the school exams are only the basis for a vast sorting exercise.

Notionally exams are a way to test knowledge and skills. Exams which really do that, and certify people as competent to be surgeons or surveyors, make sense. But the school exams are only the basis for a vast sorting exercise.

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Forced Academies U-turn: only half a victory

Author: 

Patrick Murphy

Nicky Morgan's announcement that she was withdrawing proposals to legislate to force all schools to become academies was both a real success and a major danger to the campaign against forced academies.

On 6 May, Nicky Morgan announced that, as a result of listening to MPs, teachers, school leaders and parents, she has decided that, while reaffirming our continued determination to see all schools become academies in the next 6 years, that it is not necessary to bring legislation to bring about blanket conversion of all schools to achieve this goal.

Nicky Morgan's announcement that she was withdrawing proposals to legislate to force all schools to become academies was both a real success and a major danger to the campaign against forced academies.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Ruth Cashman, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

UCU at the University of Nottingham is balloting for industrial action against threatened compulsory redundancies in the Faculty of Arts.

The University that claims to be Britain's global university wants to reduce its offer in archaeology, and theology and religious studies, and close language courses including Dutch. 11.5 FTE posts are at risk. The student body is up in arms over the threat. They have organised several protests, a petition and a Facebook group: Resist Restructuring Nottingham.

Anger at Nottingham University; victory at the John Roan School; Lambeth libraries; lecturers to strike over pay; stop victimisation at London Met; Hands off our weekends!; cabin crew fight for breaks

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A failed attempt to silence

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On Wednesday 4 May the government sacked Natasha Devon from her unpaid post as mental health champion for schools. Evidently it concluded that the parents protest the day before against excessive testing, when thousands kept Year 2 children off school, showed that Devon was having too much effect.

Anxiety is the fastest growing illness in under-21s, and three students in the average school classroom have a diagnosed mental illness.

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Don’t let the Tories recover!

Author: 

Editorial

A rising mood that cuts are not inevitable, a rising anger against economic inequality, and a rising confidence that alternatives are possible, has damaged the Tories in recent months.

Ian Duncan Smith resigned, demagogically spilling the truth that the Tories have been victimising the worst-off to benefit the rich. That was one of the side-products of the Tories’ splits over Europe, which have seen Tory right-wingers suddenly “discovering” that the NHS is underfunded and suggesting Britain’s EU budget contributions could fill the gap.

A rising mood that cuts are not inevitable, a rising anger against economic inequality, and a rising confidence that alternatives are possible, has damaged the Tories in recent months.

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Parents protest at imposed testing

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On Tuesday 3 May, thousands of parents, organised by the Let Kids be Kids campaign, kept their seven year old children from school to protest at the government-imposed SATS tests.

On Tuesday 3 May, thousands of parents, organised by the Let Kids be Kids campaign, kept their seven year old children from school to protest at the government-imposed SATS tests.

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No to forced academies!

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Teachers, parents, governors, trade union, Labour and community activists turned out to the first Hands off Our Schools – No to Forced Academies meeting in Leeds on Thursday 28 April. 100 people attended.

Teachers, parents, governors, trade union, Labour and community activists turned out to the first Hands off Our Schools – No to Forced Academies meeting in Leeds on Thursday 28 April.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dale Street, Ollie Moore, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and David Ball

CCTV workers employed by Glasgow Community Safety – a Glasgow City Council Arms Length External Organisation (ALEO) – are back at work having won a 24% pay rise after twelve strike days over six weeks. The 19 workers, all Unison members, struck to achieve equal pay, i.e. parity of shift allowance payments, with other employees who work the same pattern of 12 hour shifts in a round-the-clock service.

Strikes hit Glasgow council; Southern Rail guards strike to keep trains safely staffed; GTR bosses use courts to scupper strike; John Roan teachers strike; Government backs down on “check-off”; Parents Defending Education campaign launched.

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Schools protest grows

Author: 

A Lewisham teacher

Campaigning against the education White Paper — Educational Excellence Everywhere — is beginning to gather pace across the country.

On 23 April the Parents Defending Education conference will take place in London. Organised by the Anti-Academies Alliance the conference is supported by teaching unions NUT and ATL. The Rescue Our Schools campaign has also been set up by parents to stand up for state education.

Campaigning against the education White Paper is beginning to gather pace across the country.

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