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.
What is required to defeat the White Paper, as well as industrial action to defend workers’ conditions, is local vibrant campaigns. Barnet Trades Council and Barnet Momentum have passed motions committing them to launch campaigns. Meanwhile, Barnet Local Government Unison branch will meet soon to discuss amendments to their leadership’s motions on White Paper which are going to Local Government and Delegate conference. The amendments seek an undertaking to organise industrial action alongside the other education unions, to fight for national terms and conditions for support workers. The branch is also likely to endorse building the local campaign against the White Paper. Haringey Momentum has passed a motion to mount a campaign. Moves are afoot within the local NUT, Unison local government branch and Labour Party to get endorsement for a local initiative.
In Sheffield, model motions to support a campaign are being circulated in local Labour Parties and trade unions. Sheffield NUT has been busy recruiting new school reps Lewisham NUT has committed itself to work alongside local anti-academy campaigns, Momentum and other local labour movement organisations in building Lewisham’s campaign against the White Paper.
There is an NUT workplace reps meeting organised for 27 April to build for the ballot for action. Lewisham NUT has also endorsed the initiative organised by supporters of the teachers’ rank-and-file group LANAC, Lewisham BMA, and Greenwich NUT, which on 1 May will see junior doctors and teachers working together making banners before going on to a local ten-pin bowling alley for a social event. The event is aimed at strengthening the links between local doctors and teachers in their disputes with the government. London Region NUT has supported the North and South Thames BMA demonstration on Tuesday 26 April in support of the junior doctors’ dispute. These initiatives are just the start of the campaign. Activists, whether they work in schools, are parents, or just want to reverse the tide of Tory privatisation of public services, should follow these examples and build local campaigns.