Make Labour abolish academies!

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2019 - 18:21

Colin Foster

Online only

Labour Party conference in Brighton (21-25 September) voted to: "Ensure Local Authorities establish reformed, democratically accountable local education committees… Ensure all publicly funded schools be brought back under the control of these new local education committees".

Sharper wording had been lost in the compositing, but the clear intention is: bring back all academies and free schools under local authorities.

As with some other left-wing policies, however, it looks like the leadership deliberately avoided argument on conference floor so as not to draw attention to it, let

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 03/04/2019 - 08:54

Patrick Murphy, Jim Denham and Jean Lane

At its 28 February meeting, the National Executive of the NEU (National Education Union), the country’s fourth largest trade union considered a proposal to support two separate international delegations in the coming year. Following a pattern established by the NUT, the countries chosen were Palestine and Cuba.

Before the amalgamation which created the NEU, delegations to these parts of the world became a more or less annual event in the NUT. Many union members and activists would like to see the NEU spread its solidarity a bit wider. There is a case for ensuring that the spotlight is kept on

If you’re in the building, you’re in the union

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2019 - 10:33

A potentially very positive consequence of the ATL/NUT merger for the National Education Union (NEU) is that it removed the barrier that the National Union of Teachers imposed on itself not to recruit non¬teaching staff in schools.

By doing so the possibility has been created of much more effective workplace organisation in schools. The NEU now claims over 450,000 members, including a significant and growing number of non-teaching staff. The task now is to build an integrated, united and militant union that works for all its members. Unfortunately, led by the dominant and misnamed

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 09:21

Patrick Murphy and Gemma Short

The striking dinner ladies at Ladywood school in Grimethorpe returned to work on 29 November, claiming victory in their fight to defend their jobs. The school proposed to make all nine of the school meals supervisors redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise announced in June. Backed by their union, Unison, the women decided to fight back and voted to take extensive strike action to save their jobs.

Starting in September they took a hugely impressive 36 days of strike action. For most of that time there was little or no sign of movement from the employer, but the women remained

John Roan school fight continues

Published on: Tue, 13/11/2018 - 20:51

By a teacher

Parents and school workers at John Roan School are continuing to show the way to resist forced academisation. The school in Greenwich, south east London, is threatened with forced academisation after a poor Ofsted report.

A vibrant community campaign, backed up with a significant number of strikes has brought support from local politicians and media attention.

This week the National Education Union (NEU) held their eighth strike day. This was reported by the Guardian and Angela Rayner, shadow minister for education, tweeted her support, stating that Labour would end forced academisation. Her

What should Labour do about schools?

Published on: Wed, 29/08/2018 - 08:42

David Pendletone

As in so many areas Labour's 2017 manifesto marked a welcome and significant sea change in the party’s direction and vocabulary on education.

Gone was the talk of driving up standards by competition, increased observation and punishment of teachers who didn’t make the grade. Instead there were welcome commitments to establish a National Education Service (NES), ensure democratic control of schools, and restore funding cuts and genuine commitments to fund further education and Early Years provision better.

However, the manifesto only appeared as radical as it did because of a context of

Strikes over pay and academisation

Published on: Wed, 14/03/2018 - 14:03

Gemma Short

Workers at Connaught school in Walthamstow, London, and Avenue school in Newham, London, were both on strike on Tuesday 13 March.

School workers at Avenue school have been fighting the proposed conversion of their school to an academy. Avenue strikers have been had support from parents and the local labour movement. This has included lobbies of the Labour council, including by Labour members, over the council′s support for academies.

Workers at Connaught school are striking after their demands for a pay increase were rejected. The school is in the outer London pay band and teachers demanded an

Victory for Southwark teachers over box-ticking culture

Published on: Wed, 14/03/2018 - 13:39

A Southwark teacher

Teachers at the City of London Academy Southwark have won significant improvements after three days of strikes by the National Education Union, 1 March and 7-8 March.

A union group meeting on Monday 12 March voted to suspend further strikes, scheduled for 13-15 March while management carries through its promises to redraft appraisal and support-plan policies in consultation with the union.

The strikes drew over 40 teachers to the picket lines on each day, despite snow and winds on the first day.
Management kept the school open for Years 10-11, and for Years 12-13 to do mock exams, but support

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 28/02/2018 - 12:43

Patrick Murphy, Gemma Short, Peggy Carter and Simon Marcel

A major industrial and political battle against academy status is under way in Newham, East London.

The campaign started when staff and parents at Avenue Primary School united to fight plans to academise their school. They are demanding a simple yes/no ballot for staff and parents before any school, not just theirs, can embark on a process of academisation. As part of the campaign NEU members were balloted for a programme of strike action. Later staff and parents at another Newham school, Cumberland Primary, set up their own campaign to oppose academy plans and NEU members there were also

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