Socialist Worker

Teachers at NUT conference must prepare for resistance to education assault

by Paul McGarr
Issue No. 2447

Students in Lewisham join teachers and unions protesting last month

Students in Lewisham join teachers and unions protesting last month (Pic: Andrew Smith)

Delegates will gather in Harrogate this weekend for the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT). 

Whichever party leads the new government we will see more austerity. The Tories plan deeper cuts and Labour says it will stick to them, including education cuts of 12 percent. 

This will mean job losses, rising class sizes and workloads that will hit students hard. 

More pay restraint will attack our living standards worse than anything we have seen since 2010. 

Along with this assault goes the drive to hand over education to corporations—meaning more academies and free schools and possibly for-profit schools.

Education as we know it will be wrecked as the curriculum is narrowed and schools are pushed to become exam factories. 

Childline reported a 200 percent spike in exam stress related calls last year—this trend will continue under the policies of both main parties. 


To reverse this assault resistance and strikes on more serious scale than the last few years will be needed. 

We need to organise in schools and reach out to parents and others. 

The NUT’s resistance got rid of former education secretary Michael Gove and his plans to rip up national working conditions. 

But it has fallen short of what was needed to stem the attacks education has suffered. 

One of the crucial debates delegates face is how to fight the tests for 4 year olds—and build a boycott of them. 

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) will hold an important fringe meeting with two members of the NUT executive, Anne Lemon and Martin Powell Davies. They are standing as TUSC parliamentary candidates in the general election. 

And there will also be debates on challenging the scapegoating, racism and Islamophobia whipped up by politicians and the media. 

They want to divide resistance to austerity and we have to stop them.


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Article information

Tue 31 Mar 2015, 15:59 BST
Issue No. 2447
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