Socialist Worker

Education round-up

Issue No. 1984

Students protested at Matthew Boulton college in Birmingham on Friday of last week against the expulsion of two students. They were expelled after handing out the Guerilla newsletter, which protested against the war on Iraq and the lack of facilities for

Students protested at Matthew Boulton college in Birmingham on Friday of last week against the expulsion of two students. They were expelled after handing out the Guerilla newsletter, which protested against the war on Iraq and the lack of facilities for

Todmorden High School

Eighteen members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Todmorden High School, West Yorkshire, were due to strike on Thursday of this week over pay restructuring.

It is the latest of several dozen schools where action has taken place or been voted for over staff losing out through the replacement of allowances for taking on extra responsibilities.

Under the restructuring at Todmorden six teaching posts are to be filled by lower paid teaching assistants.

Winns Primary School

NUT union members at Winns Primary School in Waltham Forest, east London, have won their battle to defend pay levels under the new allowance system.

They voted for strike action from Wednesday of last week and that was enough to force school management to back down with 48 hours to go.

Trinity city academy school

opposition to the newly opened Trinity city academy school in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, has dramatically burst to the surface.

At a packed meeting of over 300 people on Wednesday of last week parents, grandparents, pupils, school staff and union members spoke about the draconian discipline code adopted by the school.

The meeting heard of children receiving detentions and exclusions for minor ­offences. One boy in year 11 (which covers those aged 16 this school year) was ­permanently excluded for smoking just twice.

The angry gathering raised concerns about the privatisation of education and the loss of democratic accountability. The audience listened to a catalogue of failings at the £24 million school, including the neglect of special needs provision.

Alongside this, the ­meeting discussed the gung-ho attitude of the new principal who has invited parents to “take me on” if they don’t like his policies.

The meeting was the biggest in the Thorne Moorends part of the town since the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike and it showed the massive level of anger and determination of this overwhelmingly working class community.

Parents who now feel that they can no longer exercise any control over their local school talked passionately about the true value of education.

Schools can help develop young people’s self esteem and ability to challenge the world around them, rather than simply building unsmiling clones for big business.

Parents raised issues about racism, young people’s sexuality and disability rights with a passion that showed the commitment of the community to inclusive education for all children.

Loads of ideas were suggested to move the campaign forward, with another meeting planned for next week to bring these ideas together.

One thing is certain — with the strength of feeling from this meeting, and the creativity of a community stirred to organise, the next few months will not be easy for Trinity, Vardy or for Tony Blair’s academy programme.

Jim Board

Huddersfield College caretakers

Caretakers at Huddersfield Technical College have ended their indefinite strike after ten weeks.

They returned to work on Thursday of last week. Although they have not won their claim for regrading and parity with school caretakers, they do not feel they have been defeated.

Management had tried everything to bribe and bully people back to work.

The return to work agreement is that all strikers will receive £1,500 between February and April, and will be paid for the one week of the Christmas break.

The college has agreed that the 15 cleaners who refused to cross picket lines from the start of the dispute can return to their normal place of work and jobs.

In addition, the college has been forced to drop allegations by the head of human resources that the strikers’ steward had made sexist remarks.

The end of the strike was brought about by two of the strikers returning to work after the holiday, undermining the resolve of the strikers.

The agreement on a return to work was achieved when Unison union members voted at a mass meeting to take solidarity action if the college refused to negotiate a satisfactory package with the union.

The strikers are disheartened but not defeated and return with their organisation intact to face future fights over job evaluation and pensions.

Nick Ruff

Rally for education

To coincide with the visit by New Labour education secretary Ruth Kelly

  • No to the White Paper
  • Yes to funding FE colleges
  • No to student fees

8.15am, Tuesday 24 January
City & Islington College (CIC), Camden Road, London

Backed by London, CIC, London Metropolitan University Natfhe; Islington and Camden NUT; CIC NUS

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Article information

Sat 21 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1984
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