Schools

Why and how to oppose Prevent

Author: 

Patrick Murphy

In February 2015 schools, local authorities and colleges in the UK became subject to something called “the Prevent duty”. Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, this was a legal duty to “have regard to the need to protect people from being drawn into terrorism”.

Prevent undermines the relationships many public service workers, especially teachers, have with their communities, students and young people, and thus cuts against teachers gaining trust and being able to re-educate young people tempted by terroristic ideologies. Without doing anything significant to stop recruitment to terroristic ideologies, the Prevent strategy introduces or exacerbates a whole set of other problems. It should be withdrawn.

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Class struggle in school

Author: 

Various

Win at Alfreton school

By Liam Conway

Teachers at Alfreton Grange school have won a huge victory in their dispute over the imposition of a nine period day.

Teachers at the Alfreton Grange Arts College campaigned for six weeks, and struck for eight days. When the NUT leadership engages in empty talk of social movement trade unionism, they should be looking at Alfreton Grange for a living example!

Two disputes

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore, Ben Tausz, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Lancashire County Council is on the verge of making sweeping cuts.

The cuts include over 2,500 job losses (compulsory and voluntary). Around 40 of the 75 libraries in Lancashire will close, as will 5 out of the 10 council run museums, all subsidised bus routes, and numerous other front line services will be cut.

Lancashire and Lambeth library workers fight cuts; teachers fighting for respect; Tube offer falls short; fighting casualisation in higher education; Open University strike; Enfield parking strike.

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No return to selection in schools!

Author: 

Pat Yarker

Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has agreed that Weald of Kent Grammar School, a single-sex academy in Tonbridge, can open a new building in Sevenoaks. This decision marks a shift Michael Gove’s position, and potentially heralds an upsurge in overt selection by so-called academic “ability” on a scale not seen for decades.

Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has agreed that Weald of Kent Grammar School, a single-sex academy in Tonbridge, can open a new building in Sevenoaks. This decision marks a shift Michael Gove’s position, and potentially heralds an upsurge in overt selection by so-called academic “ability” on a scale not seen for decades.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Patrick Murphy, Ollie Moore and Liam Conway

Workers in Further Education will strike on 10 November after college bosses have imposed a pay freeze. As report in Solidarity 381, both UCU, representing lecturers, and Unison, representing support staff, have voted for strikes as college workers have seen their pay decrease in real terms for six years. The pay freeze comes in the context of ever tightening budgets for FE colleges, with many colleges having already gone through may rounds of course closures and redundancies.

FE strikes; teachers take action on workload; London transport strikes; arts college strike.

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School students will not be silenced!

Author: 

Rida Vaquas

Students at my school, King Edward’s Camp Hill School For Girls, Birmingham, were recently intimidated for protesting at the conditions under which a visit by the Israeli deputy ambassador took place.

Students at King Edward’s Camp Hill School For Girls, Birmingham, were recently intimidated for protesting at the conditions under which a visit by the Israeli deputy ambassador took place.

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Docking benefits won't keep children in school

Author: 

Gemma Short

Parents of children who are absent from school will have child benefit docked by £120 if they do not pay a fine within 28 days.

Local authorities can already take parents to court if their children are “truanting”; courts can fine parents £60, rising to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days. Larger fines, community or jail sentences are also handed down to “persistent offenders”.

Parents of children who are absent from school will have child benefit docked by £120 if they do not pay a fine within 28 days.

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A government for the rich

Author: 

Ann Field

The Tories are committed to cutting public spending by £30 billion over the next four years. This will mean annual cuts twice the size of any year’s cuts over the past five years. Although they have not identified all their cuts it is already clear to some degree where the axe will fall.

Policies include debarring unemployed under-21s from claiming Housing Benefit and cutting the annual benefits cap — the maximum payable to any claimant, whatever their circumstances — from £26,000 to £23,000.

The first Tory government since 1997 to have an absolute majority in Parliament will rule on behalf of the rich, the powerful and the bigoted. It will target the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick, the working class, and the one force capable of defeating the Tories’ new laws: the trade union movement.

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Teachers: ending the 60-hour week

A recent National Union of Teachers survey found that the average teacher works a 60 hour week.

A recent National Union of Teachers survey found that the average teacher works a 60 hour week.

The average was already, in 2013, according to official government figures, 59.3 hours in primary and 55.7 in secondary, and it is increasing.

According to the government figures, teachers do 20% of their work outside of the school day, and according to a survey by the conservative union ATL, almost half work up to 10 hours over their weekend.

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Replace the exam boards!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“Your remarks about Quicksort seem on track to me”, replied Ursula Martin, professor of computer science at Oxford, when I wrote to her to check my view that the mark schemes for Edexcel A level maths require that algorithm to be done wrongly, and penalise doing it correctly. But, she commented ruefully, “changing the mind of Edexcel sounds a somewhat challenging proposition”.

The market competition between exam boards drives each board to make exam papers as predictable, as formulaic, and as cheap and easy to mark as possible.

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