Socialist Worker

Tories back down over forced academies

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2502

Protest works! Resistance beat the academies plan

Protest works! Resistance beat the academies plan (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Tories have withdrawn a plan to force every school in England to become an academy by 2020. It's a humiliating defeat for education secretary Nicky Morgan - and a cause for celebration for teachers, children and parents.

Deputy general secretary of the NUT union Kevin Courtney told Socialist Worker, "This is a huge victory and a huge blow to the government's plans."

Alex Kenny is on the NUT's national executive committee. He told Socialist Worker, "It's a victory for campaigning and a clear sign that the academy programme is unpopular and in trouble."

Right wing commentators have made much of the scale of Tory opposition to forced academies. But the crucial factor was widespread anger among ordinary people. Over 100,000 people signed a petition against the plan in one week.

And protests across Britain showed the level of resistance to the plan.


Jess Edwards is a primary school teacher in Lambeth, south London, and is on the NUT's national executive committee. "This U-turn shows our strength and that we can win," she told Socialist Worker.

"But the fight isn't over. In Lambeth we face funding cuts of nearly 20 percent. We should keep fighting until we stop the Tories attacking education."

The Tories have been pushed back on one of their most controversial education attacks. But they still plan assaults in the education white paper that will ruin schools for tens of thousands of working class children.

The NUT is set to begin a ballot for strikes later this month over the impact of the white paper.

Morgan hopes retreating over forced academies will help the government ram through the other attacks. As she put it, "Better to have reforms than have none at all."

Kevin Courtney stressed that the fight to defend education isn't over. "The Tories still plan to turn schools they say are coasting or failing into academies," he said. "They still plan to make huge funding cuts.

"Our campaign must continue."

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