Socialist Worker

Stop New Labour’s comprehensive attack on schools

by Nick Grant, secretary Ealing NUT (pc)
Issue No. 1989

Any day now a new education bill will be put before parliament. The government’s White Paper, published in preparation for the bill, has sent shockwaves through Labour ranks, largely through its bogus emphasis on “choice” and “diversity”.

Under the plan, schools would be handed over for private control as independent trusts.

The academic Ted Wragg used to say, “To call these proposals a dog’s breakfast would be to insult Britain’s pet owners, who take care to feed Bowser a balanced diet.”

Even former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has criticised the plan. David Chaytor, Labour MP for Bury, summarised the White Paper as heralding “segregation, segregation, segregation”.

Fiona Miller and Melissa Benn have been doing a series of public meetings based on their new pamphlet, which defends comprehensive education.

They feel this system of education is under threat – and they have good grounds for their fears.

Labour’s proposals mirror almost exactly the content of a CBI report ­published 12 months ago entitled The Business of School Improvement.

The NUT teaching union has responded well to the threat, launching their A Good Local School For Every Child campaign.

This week the union has written directly to every school head and chair of governors, and on 25 March it is set to host a national conference (for full details of the conference go to

London area NUT branches, backed by many Unison union branches and trades councils, have called a march and rally for Thursday of next week.

Workers have a right to a good local school. It is scandalous that a Labour government is attacking this right.

All school workers, parents, governors and supporters of comprehensive education in the London area should join us on 2 March to protest against the White Paper.

The demonstration will assemble at Ambrosden Avenue, next to Westminster Catholic Cathedral, from 5.30pm. Nearest tube Victoria. Rally at 7pm, Central Methodist Hall, Storey’s Gate, Westminster. Phone 07958 542 872 for more information.

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Sat 25 Feb 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1989
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