Schools

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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Back teachers' fight against cuts

By Patrick Yarker

The conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) met over Easter as the funding shake-up engineered by Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for education and skills, erupted into a slanging-match between ministers, head teachers and local government officials. Education providers were asking central government: where are the missing millions supposedly due to schools?

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PFI keeps junk food in schools

By Martin Thomas

After the uproar created by Jamie Oliver's television series "School Dinners", the Government promised an extra £280 million to improve school meals in England.

Many schools, however, are stuck with their existing junk food for years to come, because of Private Finance Initiative contracts.

If the schools withdraw from the contracts, they will be legally liable to penalties equal to the profits that the junk-food contractor would have made on the remaining years of the contract.

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Schools: let the people decide!

By Tim Cooper

In Nottingham the council is proposing that a local small private Islamic school become a large LEA voluntary-aided school.

This move is being opposed by all the local schools. They will have their most academic pupils creamed off to an elitist school, and it will be the death knell for many schools already facing closure because of fewer children in the area.

We love our local schools, and we are proud we have not had the same segregation as occurred in Oldham, Burnley or Bradford, with their subsequent poor race relations.

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Savage Violence in 20th Century Irish Schools: Why Did People Stand For It?

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

In his understated attack on the Catholic Church in Ireland for the sexual abuse of children, Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke also of the torture of children. In this the attitude of the 26 County Irish state itself was all-defining. This article by Sean Matgamna tells what happened when Socialist Senator Owen Sheehy Skeffington, acting together with a small group of concerned Dublin parents, who had set up "The School Children’s Protection Organisation”, tried to do something about the physical ill-treatment of children in the Church-run Irish schools.
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The violence inflicted on children in Irish schools in the first three-quarters of the Twentieth Century is today scarcely believable. John O'Mahony examines some documentary evidence, and remembers the Ennis National School...

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Brighton teaching assistants

Teaching assistants in Brighton and Hove are still in dispute over the council’s plans to cut the number of weeks a year they are paid.

After three successful days of strike action and two large strike day demos it looks as if GMB and Unison leaders are losing their nerve.

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Brighton teaching assistants

A grumpy and harassed looking Ken Bodfish (OBE), Brighton and Hove Labour council leader, rushed into a council meeting on 25 November. He looked visibly shaken by the 350 teaching assistants and their supporters who had turned up to protest on the second day of their strike.

“I would like to see a proper wage that people can actually live on. I’m a single person and need tax credits to bring up my wage,” teaching assistant Diane Askew told the local paper.

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Remodelling = cheap education

The Brighton and Hove teaching assistants’ strike is caused by the Remodelling Agreement, signed by all the unions involved in education except the National Union of Teachers.

Under the guise of “recognising the professional status” of support staff, and of “improving their chances of promotion”, teaching assistants (TAs) and other support workers are being forced to work more for less pay.

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