Schools

Teachers: cut the hours!

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A London teacher

Nicky Morgan replaced Michael Gove as education minister in July. Tory prime minister David Cameron wanted her to continue Gove's drive for academies and free schools, but smooth the sharp edges and win back some of the Tories' lost support among teachers and others concerned with schooling.

She asked teachers for ideas on easing workload, in a survey which closed on 21 November, and says she will announce plans in the New Year.

Some schools put heavy pressure on teachers to be on site between 7.30 am and 6 pm; and, unlike in other countries, there is no set limit on classroom hours.

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The socialist answer to UKIP

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Editorial

Tory defector Douglas Carswell became UKIP’s first elected MP on 9 October, and another Tory defector, Mark Reckless, may win on 20 November in Rochester and Strood. We examine UKIP’s manifesto.

UKIP: “Migrants are a drain on UK resources, including benefits and NHS”

A socialist response to UKIP's mainfesto.

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Control at the top, ferment below

Author: 

Martin Thomas

It was advertised in the Labour Party conference fringe guide as an NUT (National Union of Teachers) meeting with Tristram Hunt, the Labour shadow minister for education, but turned out to be something different and more interesting.

It started earlier than advertised in the guide. When I got there, the room was already full, with maybe 100 people. NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney was there, but it was not an NUT meeting. It was an hoc event organised by an individual activist, Emma Hardy-Mattinson. And Hunt was not scheduled there.

There is more left-wing feeling in the Labour Party ranks than you’d guess from the very-controlled proceedings inside the Manchester Central conference centre.

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Stop humiliating students!

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Gemma Short

At the start of term 50 students at Heaton Manor school in Newcastle were put into isolation and issued with detentions for wearing “the wrong uniform”. The school has insisted that a certain type of trousers be worn, saying students should not wear “tight fitting trousers or leggings”.

This is not an isolated case, it has similarities to a movement in the US against sexist dress codes in schools (where there are usually no uniforms) and colleges.

Those movements have been highlighting dress codes that ban short skirts or shorts, “spaghetti strap tops” or tight trousers.

Schools should not be a place where problems in society are reinforced and even taught. They should be a place where they are challenged.

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The Etonian plutocracy

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Matt Cooper

Only 7% of people in the UK went to fee-paying schools, but they dominate all the top jobs which are central to the running of the state. 71% of top judges, 62% senior armed forces officers and 55% and the highest ranking civil servants.

A report by the not-left-wing academic government policy unit, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (28 August) says advantage is bought via the top fee-paying schools which fast track children into the top universities, particularly Oxford and Cambridge.

Only 7% of people in the UK went to fee-paying schools, but they dominate all the top jobs which are central to the running of the state.

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When priests rule: the Irish horror story all workers should learn from

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

An 81 year old retired Irish cardinal, Desmond Connell, has gone to the High Court in Dublin for a writ to stop his successor as Archbishop of Dublin from handing over church files on paedophile priests to a state-organised inquiry into clerical abuse of children.

The Catholic people of Ireland are now once again, in the grotesque Cardinal Connell affair, being unpleasantly reminded of what rule by priests, bishops, and cardinals sometimes has meant for them.

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When priests rule: An Irish horror story all workers should learn from

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Solidarity

An 81 year old retired Irish cardinal, Desmond Connell, has gone to the High Court in Dublin for a writ to stop his successor as Archbishop of Dublin from handing over church files on paedophile priests to a state-organised inquiry into clerical abuse of children.

The Catholic people of Ireland are now once again, in the grotesque Cardinal Connell affair, being unpleasantly reminded of what rule by priests, bishops, and cardinals sometimes has meant for them.

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The monthly survey

Teachers' union at crossroad (Pat Murphy)
Fighting redundancies in Liverpool (Cate Murphy)
Youth in Britain, never had it so good? (Niall Brown)
Fight for democracy in New Labour (Adie Kemp)
Students must build on the ground (Mick Duncan)
New solutions? No solutions! Bill Davies
The transformations of vegetarians into cannibals and cannibals into profits (Ann Mack)
Mad cows and Mad economics (Colin Foster)
Mad cows and Englishmen (Les Hearn)

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FGM still increasing

On 3 July a parliamentary committee reported that “Female genital mutilation is an ongoing national scandal which is likely to have resulted in the preventable mutilation of thousands of girls to whom the state owed a duty of care”.

There has long been law against doctors and parents who are party to mutilation of young girls’ genitals. But the committee still found a “growing prevalence of FGM”.

Its recommendations include:

According to a parliamentary committee, “Female genital mutilation is an ongoing national scandal which is likely to have resulted in the preventable mutilation of thousands of girls to whom the state owed a duty of care”.

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Teaching “British values” in schools

Following the “Trojan horse” “scandal” regarding the alleged plans of Islamist governors at various Birmingham schools, David Cameron wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday about “British values”. He defined these as “a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law”.

Following the “Trojan horse” “scandal” regarding the alleged plans of Islamist governors at various Birmingham schools, David Cameron wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday about “British values”. He defined these as “a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law”.

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