A big campaign has taken off in Cambridgeshire to defend nursery schools. Last week parents, governors, teachers, support staff, Labour councillors, the local MP and others joined together to launch the campaign.
Six local authority nursery schools in the county will close if the government’s proposals for funding go ahead.
This gives some parents 30 hours’ free childcare.
It will also see local authorities no longer able to ringfence money for this sector of education.
Instead local authorities would have to distribute money across the private, voluntary and independent sector to fund the government’s expansion of early years’ provision.
Without adequate funding there will be a cut to provision in the nursery schools.
Nursery schools have higher costs than many nurseries or pre-schools in the private and voluntary sector. This is because they employ qualified teaching staff and are led by head teachers.
Nursery school teams are often placed in areas where there are high levels of deprivation.
They work with children who would not find places in non-state sector settings due to their level of need.
A petition against the funding cut launched this week had over 9,000 signatures within just a few days. We want to focus on how to start spreading action to a national level.
It is not acceptable for the government to wipe out a whole sector of educational provision.
The damaging impact this would have, not only on early years as a sector but on the children we teach and their families, would be devastating.
At our NUT union conference this year we hope to win national policy to take action to defend the services, including strikes.
NUT rep, Fields Children’s Centre, Cambridge
No refugee jail here
I was delighted to hear that Renfrewshire council rejected the application to build a new jail for removing refugees on a site at Glasgow Airport. I was among 120 protesters who lobbied the council’s planning committee.
Coming from across Scotland and the local area, protesters were determined that the plans for the jail would not be implemented.
Slogans like “Refugees are welcome here” and “No borders” were kept up. Speakers from community groups, refugee support groups, students and Stand Up To Racism promised to keep fighting if the plans went ahead.
Councillors had found plenty of reasons to reject the application from the private developers who would be running the removal centre for the Tory government.
They heard that more than 100 objections had been received.
Many of the councillors referred to the Dungavel detention centre south of Glasgow and the continuing protests there.
One councillor called the process “no more than rendition”. Another pointed out that the council had previously rejected the site for use for a nursery.
It had moved people from housing there because of air pollution from the airport.
Yet they were being asked to agree to locking people up there.
This is a victory for all the people who have campaigned long and hard in Scotland for an end to locking up refugees.
Can’t live with Tories—will Labour be better?
I work as a school nurse in the Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency where Tory MP Stephen Phillips has just resigned and triggered a by-election.
He said that Theresa May’s attitude to MPs means he is “unable properly to represent the people who elected me”.
The label “Conservative” is one he can no longer “live with”.
But he didn’t seem that bothered about his constituents when it came to a wholesale change to our service.
Thanks to a Conservative government and a Conservative council it is being vastly reduced.
Labour’s new candidate in the by-election is Jim Clarke. He’s promised to “earn people’s trust” about immigration.
I’ll be very disappointed if that is the tone of Labour’s campaign.
Especially in view of how important immigration is in this area.
Pub quiz solidarity
During our strike I got a message from a supportive teacher at a pub quiz where the quizmaster is a Durham Labour councillor.
It said, “Hi. Changed our team name at pub quiz to ‘I support the TAs’. Councillor Geldard has to read out team names for every round!”
The councillor refused, saying “no politics on quiz night” but my pal was armed with our flyers too.
Durham teaching assistant
Oppression affects people in all classes
prince Harry came under scrutiny last week due to his relationship with Meghan Markle.
The right wing media smeared Markle with racist and sexist headlines such as “Harry’s Girl on PornHub”.
Of course the sexism and racism experienced by Meghan Markle is different to how ordinary working class women experience oppression.
But oppression—in whatever form—should have no place in our society.
It pervades all classes. While socialists are no fans of the royals, we have to take a principled line against sexism wherever it may occur.
This means standing against the right wing attacks of the likes of The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers.
A reminder from Port Said
Earlier this month was the 60th anniversary of the RAF bombing of Port Said in Egypt.
Whole areas were reduced to rubble, infrastructure destroyed and civilians killed.
The bombing of cities in this way is rightly regarded as a war crime.
It was part of the Suez invasion—an attempt at regime change.
Northerners want a fight
It’s right that the RMT union is looking after its members working at Southern Rail.
Perhaps they can also take a look at workers on Northern Rail, who haven’t got their holiday back pay, or indeed this year’s pay rise from right back in April.
We need more than hundreds
Good to see hundreds of people protesting at the US embassy last week (Socialist Worker online).
But it’s going to take more than hundreds to take on Trump’s racism.
Labour needs to get it right
I agreed with your column on why Labour’s in such a muddle about migration (Socialist Worker, 9 November).
The Labour Party must stop pandering to anti-migrant racism.