Socialist Worker

Biggles sends army to school

Issue No. 1831

NEW LABOUR'S education secretary Charles Clarke rejoices in the nickname 'Biggles'. He is now calling in the army to help run local schools. Soldiers will take tutorials with pupils. Government officials claim that soldiers are good role models, especially for boys.

They say the army can help end violence and bullying in schools, even though the army is based on violence and is dominated by a culture of bullying.

Winning from teacher crisis

PRIVATE FIRMS are cashing in on the desperate shortage of school teachers. A survey carried out by head teachers showed the price of hiring a supply teacher has risen by 40 percent in just a year. One analyst says that £600 million is spent every year on supply teachers.

The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, David Hart, said, 'Supply teacher agencies are profiteering and costing schools a fortune.' One of the big agencies, Select Education, admitted its daily charges were £137. The company's marketing executive explained, 'It's a market-led situation.' In one typical case a school was paying £130 a day while the teacher was receiving only £62 a day.

£100 million to grab homes

THE EXECUTIVE of the Scottish Parliament is handing another £100 million of public money over to privateers to ensure the privatisation of Glasgow's council housing goes ahead.

Government threats and blackmail saw Glasgow tenants narrowly back privatisation in a ballot earlier this year. Bill Speirs is the general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

He said, 'In the run-up to the ballot on privatisation, the STUC said that the project was a shambolic mess which would line the pockets of bankers. 'Unfortunately we have been proved right. Yesterday the Scottish Executive slipped out an announcement that another £100 million of taxpayers' money is to be given to the banks, taking the total cost to over £2 billion.'

The news comes as campaigners are preparing for a major lobby of the Westminster parliament in defence of council housing. The lobby, on 29 January, is called by the Defend Council Housing organisation and backed by major trade unions, many MPs and tenants' groups.

'Flexible' leads to more stress

SO CALLED 'modernisation' of work is making us sick. According to an official report by the Health and Safety Executive, the number of people suffering from stress caused by work has doubled since 1990. Another report this week found that a third of fathers now work over 50 hours a week.

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Sat 21 Dec 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1831
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