Around 1,000 people took to the streets against Tory education cuts in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, last Saturday.
Teachers, parents, children, head teachers, sixth form students, governors and educational support workers were among those on the protest.
The proposed cuts are the biggest to education in a lifetime—bigger than the cuts under Margaret Thatcher and John Major’s Tory governments combined.
The Tories are freezing the amount that schools get paid per pupil in cash terms and increasing their costs through the Apprenticeship Levy, National Insurance and pensions contributions. They are also cutting the Education Services Grant by 75 percent.
Schools in England will be £3 billion worse off by 2019.
There is insufficient funding for education.
Schools are already cutting teachers and teaching assistants and class sizes will continue to rise. The amount of support for students with special educational needs and disabilities will decrease.
This has already happened in further education, which was cut by 14 percent under the last Tory-Lib Dem coalition government.
At the rally at the end of the march, representatives from the NUT teachers’ and NAHT head teachers’ unions addressed the huge crowd.
There were also moving contributions from children. One talked of how important music was to her in improving her learning skills.
Another young child told of how she needed extra help with her work and this had already been cut. This is just the beginning of the fight.
Jean Evanson, NUT union divisional secretary for Shropshire
- The NUT union plans to ballot workers for strikes at the Dormers Wells High School in Ealing, west London. The union is opposing the possibility that the school will become an academy.
Lecturers strike to defend union’s rights at Brighton
UCU union members at the University of Brighton were set to begin a two-day strike next Monday.
They are fighting to defend their terms, conditions and union rights.
The union has said management has insisted that it will determine which issues to negotiate with the union over—effectively derecognising the UCU.
Mark Abel, chair of the UCU coordinating committee at the university, told Socialist Worker there was a mood of “exasperation” at management.
“The new vice chancellor has been here only 15 months but has already pushed through the closure of a campus,” said Mark.
He added, “UCU members understand the existence of the union is under threat—and what that would mean for working conditions.
“That’s why the turnout and vote for action were so good.”
Some 77 percent of workers voted for strikes in a recent ballot on a 58 percent turnout— and 85 percent backed action short of a strike.
Workers were not required to meet the new thresholds in the Trade Union Act because they were balloted before it came into force.But they would have done so even if they had been.
The union said the strike will be the start of escalating action that will take place throughout the summer term.
UCU members will also refuse to work more than 37 hours a week and not to undertake any voluntary duties.
Scottish colleges plan to ballot over pay
Scottish further education lecturers could begin balloting for strikes next week over bosses’ attempts to undermine a national agreement reached last year.
The equal pay deal was due to begin this April, but college bosses now want the EIS-Fela union to accept worse terms and conditions in return.
Workers should vote to strike and show they won’t accept bosses backsliding.
A planned strike by lecturers at Edinburgh on Tuesday was suspended after bosses agreed to enter talks.
The EIS-Fela union members walked out last Wednesday over the unfair sacking of a colleague after anonymous allegations were made against them.
If there’s no resolution from the talks they plan to strike again on Thursday.
Workers at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College held a protest last Friday against plans to stop teaching A-Levels.
The cut means that around 50 students will have to find a different college to finish them after the summer