Socialist Worker

As parents plan London protest over school funding cuts - pile pressure on the Tories

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2558

Up to 1,000 parents and teachers rallied in Mile End, east London, last month to defend education

Up to 1,000 parents and teachers rallied in Mile End, east London, last month to defend education (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Parents, teachers, children and others are preparing to protest against school funding cuts in London. The demonstration is expected to be on Sunday 16 July.

Activists elsewhere could call protests on the same day to coordinate the resistance.

The best plan would be for a national demonstration called by teachers’ and parents’ groups.

The news comes as the Tories are under huge pressure following a disastrous election campaign.

One survey found 755,000 voters changed their minds because of the schools funding policy.

That’s a testament to the tens of thousands who have set up local groups, organised meetings and joined protests.

As Newcastle teacher Daniel Kebede told a local paper, “We’ve put education cuts on the agenda. Everything is up for grabs.”

Some Tory MPs were already threatening to vote against the cuts—now the pressure on them has hugely intensified.

There are rumours that Theresa May’s Queen’s Speech will promise more funding and scrap plans for new grammar schools.

NUT teachers’ union leader Kevin Courtney has appealed for people to grab the chance to inflict a defeat on the Tories.

Important

“When your opponent starts to give in, it’s really important to ramp up your efforts,” he said. The original Tory plan would see schools losing £3 billion a year by 2020.

There’s a danger that the Tories will try and soften their attack just enough to blunt opposition to it.

They may try and divide the resistance by pledging cash in some areas while others still lose out.

But we shouldn’t accept any cuts—schools need more money, not less. As Ellie, a parent in south London, told Socialist Worker, “Both my kids go to great schools that offer a diverse curriculum.

“I don’t see how that can carry on with these cuts. All schools can be funded in a way that’s fair.”

Parent Netty added, “The money is there—look at the spending on free schools.”

Courtney urged people to organise lobbies of their MPs, hold stalls at school summer fairs and plan local demonstrations this term.

All activity will increase the pressure on the Tories.

The general election showed that there is a mood to take on the Tories. This should embolden all those who hate them to build more resistance.

More protests—and strikes by school workers—can help to finish them off.


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