Socialist Worker

Teachers' academies fight could help bring down the Tories

Teachers are preparing to ballot for strikes against the impact of forced academies, reports Sadie Robinson

Issue No. 2499

Marching against academies in central London last month

Marching against academies in central London last month (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Teachers return to school this week with a huge battle to win against Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan.

The Tories aim to force every school in England to become a privately-run academy. This would mark the end of state education and open up schools for privatisation and profit.

NUT union deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney spoke to a meeting of Labour left group Momentum during the NUT’s conference in Brighton last month.

He described the Tory plan as “total and complete deregulation” aimed to “drive down conditions”.

“This is systematically driving the public out of education,” he said. “It’s education on the cheap.”

The NUT will next month ballot teachers for strikes over the impact of forced academisation and funding cuts.

A strike would be an enormous challenge to the Tories—and would boost everyone fighting back.

Paul McGarr is a teacher and NUT union rep in east London. He told Socialist Worker, “In areas with a number of activists, teachers should meet in the first couple of weeks of term.

“This shouldn’t be a routine committee meeting.

“Teachers should call together the best activists in their associations and discuss how to mobilise to win the ballot.

Broadest

“From that we need to organise the biggest and broadest meetings of teachers who are willing to help mobilise for the ballot.

“In areas with fewer activists, teachers can find two or three people in their schools who are up for doing something and get them together.”

The ballot will begin on 23 May. Paul stressed the importance of moving quickly to make sure as many teachers as possible are involved in building the yes vote.

“We need a sense of urgency,” he said. Teachers plan to have “ballot buddies” in school departments to organise and get the vote out.

Activists want the maximum number of school meetings so that more teachers can discuss the dispute.

The NUT has said it will call a national demonstration against the Tories’ plans.

Teachers can organise transport from across Britain—and get parents and other campaigners involved too.

There is potential to build a massive campaign against forced academies. Over 100,000 people signed a petition demanding a public inquiry into academies in under four days.

Teachers are making links with other workers in dispute. The London region of the NUT has jointly organised a protest with the junior doctors’ British Medical Association.

And there is anger among parents at the forced academy plan. The Anti Academies Alliance is hosting a parents against academies meeting in London on Saturday 23 April.

The Tories are in crisis. A mass campaign over academies, involving school strikes, could help bring them down.

Go to antiacademies.org.uk for details of the meeting and other activities

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