Socialist Worker

Slashing schools will be no picnic for Tories

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2557

A picnic and rally in Kings Heath, Birmingham

A picnic and rally in King's Heath, Birmingham (Pic: Doug Morgan)


Parents, teachers, children and others joined several protests against school funding cuts last weekend.

In Kings Heath, Birmingham, demonstrators held a big picnic and rally against the cuts on Sunday.

Local Labour MP Roger Godsiff addressed the event along with Louise Regan, president of the NUT teachers’ union.

School bullies meet their match—how resistance to school funding cuts is spreading
School bullies meet their match—how resistance to school funding cuts is spreading
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Parents marched through Sutton Coldfield, also in Birmingham, on the same day. It’s the only constituency of the city with a Tory MP.

Marchers chanted, “No ifs, no buts—no school cuts.”

One protester spelled out what the cuts mean for children.

“Teachers are losing their jobs, teaching assistants are losing their jobs, school hours are being cut,” she said. “Schools are asking parents for school supplies.”

Another said, “We just want to make a stand and make our voices heard.”

Costs

Fury over the cuts pushed Theresa May to pledge £4 billion for schools by 2022. But as pupil numbers and school costs rise, schools still face a funding cut in real terms.

The attacks have generated campaigns across England. Another protest took place in Seaford, east Sussex, last Saturday.

The NUT has said Seaford’s schools would lose £778,635 in real terms by 2022 if the Tory cuts go ahead.

Teacher and parent Maree said, “Our schools can’t manage with cuts to funding over the next five years. It will make every child suffer.”

Parent Susie added, “Special needs teaching assistants are being taken out so there are vulnerable children not receiving enough support.”

Elsewhere a march from Sheffield to Nottingham finished last Saturday.

The People’s March for Education began last Thursday. It passed through Dronsfield, Chesterfield, Clay Cross, Mansfield, Hucknall and Bulwell.

Louise Regan said, “Our schools are already in crisis. And now children face massive cuts to school provision.

“This march is about defending children and their education.”


College bosses backslide in Scotland

The Scottish college lecturers’ EIS Fela union has warned that its dispute “may reignite” once again.

It fears bosses are seeking to renege on their promise to honour an equal pay deal.

Scottish lecturers get their bosses telt
Scottish lecturers get their bosses telt
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An angry EIS Fela national executive meeting last week discussed progress since strikes were suspended last month. It ended with a call to reinstate them if bosses don’t act by the end of July.

Six days of strikes forced college bosses to promise to honour a pay deal signed in March 2016.

The union said this should have seen bosses “immediately implement the pay elements” that are supposed to harmonise lecturers’ pay across Scotland’s colleges.

The first step would have been paying 25 percent of the £12,000 a year pay gap.

But in the latest pay packet, the only thing bosses did was deduct pay for the strikes.

Other negotiations on terms and conditions are ongoing.

But there is huge anger among lecturers, including some calls for the strikes to be reinstated as soon as possible.

Another executive meeting is set for 16 June.


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