Socialist Worker

Time to organise against Tory attacks on education and teachers

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2495

NUT members protest earlier this week

NUT 6th form strikers march on the Department of Education earlier this week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Tories are preparing to force every school in England to become a privately-run academy – but the plan has sparked fierce resistance.

The shocking attack was unveiled in Wednesday’s budget. The Tories also want to stop parents being school governors and get more unqualified teachers into schools.

All of this exposes the Tory lie that their school reforms are about increasing parental “choice” or improving standards.

Alasdair Smith is national secretary of the Anti Academies Alliance. He told Socialist Worker, “This is the destruction of state education. It’s complete hypocrisy.

“First we were told academies were about choice. Then they were about standards. Then they were about giving schools autonomy. Where’s the choice and autonomy now?”

Academies are funded by the government but they are privately-run. Converting schools into academies involves a huge shift of wealth, in terms of land, buildings and resources, from public to private hands.

And it means parents, democratically elected councillors and others have less say over the kind of education children receive.

Some 55,000 people signed a petition opposing the academies plan in one day. Alasdair said the news had unleashed a “wave of anger”.

“We’ve had 100,000 hits on our website in one day,” he said. “People understand that this has nothing to do with improving standards in education. It’s about privatisation and a cynical move to remove state control or parental influence in schools.”

Several NUT union branches have called a protest against the plan in London for Wednesday of next week. The anger sparked by the Tory announcement shows the potential to build a mass campaign to stop them in their tracks.

“The key is to move quickly,” said Alasdair. “People should come to the protest on Wednesday. Outside London, people can organise protests outside their local authority or town hall, to say we want our councils involved in education.

“We need meetings organised everywhere soon after Easter to build a broad campaign against this attack.”

The NUT conference has a chance to lay out a campaign of meetings, protests–and strikes–to beat the Tories.

Protest against Tories’ forced academies – Wednesday 23 March, 5pm, Westminster Cathedral, Victoria St, SW1P 1QW for a march to the Department for Education. Called by Camden NUT, East London NUT, Hackney NUT, Lambeth NUT and Waltham Forest NUT. Go to antiacademies.org.uk for more information and sign the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124702

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