Socialist Worker

Defending comprehensive schools in Sheffield

by Karen Mee
Issue No. 2041

Sheffield City Council is at the forefront nationally of implementing the government's Building Schools For The Future programme. They have invited all comprehensive schools in the city to bid for trust Status.

This will involve inviting private businesses and religious organisations to bid to run our local comprehensive schools. Part of their strategy is to close and rebuild two community comprehensive schools – Wisewood and Myers Grove. The new school that replaces them will be a Trust School.

At the end of February the Save Our Community Schools (SOCS) campaign in Sheffield held a public meeting of over 170 people against the closure of Wisewood and Myers Grove and against trust schools and academies. This meeting has been part of an ongoing, lively and active local campaign to save our school.

It was very important to us in SOCS that we both addressed the specific arguments around our school’s future and broadened our campaign to resist the implementation of trust Schools and the privatisation of our schools.

Our meeting was addressed by Bill Greenshields, vice president of the NUT teachers union, and Terry Wrigley from Edinburgh University.

They both spoke brilliantly, outlining the case against trust schools and academies and putting the issues in the wider political context of privatisation. Terry also spoke about the kind of education that we might want for our children and how we could campaign for it. The meeting was widely reported in the local media.

The discussion was lively and political. Several speakers slammed the actions of local labour councillors in supporting the proposal and questioned the Liberal Democrats about their commitment to save our school and to the Trust agenda in general.

Other speakers discussed the need to continue our fight. We intend to go to judicial review about the specific issue of closing Wisewood but we are also committed to broadening our campaign as part of a city wide fight against privatisation. We hope to organise a city wide demonstration against privatisation in May.

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Sat 10 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2041
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