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Letters—Rishi Sunak’s plan on maths teaching just doesn’t add up

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Issue 2837
Rishi Sunak in a classroom

Rishi Sunak hasn’t done the calculations (Picture: Flickr/ Number 10)

In his infinite wisdom, Rishi Sunak has declared that he wants to make maths compulsory for all young people up to 18-years‑old. So, during an ecological and cost of living crisis, our prime minister wants to put more strain on an already underfunded and under-employed area of the public sector.

It is not uncommon for Sunak to be so badly out of touch. He says he wants people to “feel confident” when it comes to finances. But Sunak can’t see the reality of what young people want—for instance, a solution to the climate crisis and a financially stable future. Meanwhile he wants to maintain the criminal underfunding that school staff are planning to go on strike against.

Sunak’s plan would put an excessive burden on one of the most vital parts of society and threaten to overload students with even more work. That would undoubtedly put increased pressure on young people at a time when mental health problems are already at an all-time high. Plus, a large number of post-16-year-olds don’t stay in full time education.  

It also means more work for staff when there is already a shortage of maths teachers in secondary schools. The Tories are yet again taking drastic leaps to impose their agenda on young people. And taking even more control away from students and teachers on what is taught in the curriculum isn’t uncommon. 

During Michael Gove’s time as education secretary under David Cameron’s coalition government, he pushed for more “Britishness” to be included in the curriculum. It meant only British authors being studied in English lessons, and a big push towards seeing Britain as glorious.

It was a clear and deliberate step away from the anti-racist position that many teachers and students want. Another move towards a lack of autonomy in education, from what is taught to how, will fail to benefit young people.

Dylan Williams


Trans rights battle not over in Scotland

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill was passed in Scotland last month. The new law tries to improve the ways transgender people in Scotland obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.

It removes the need for a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria and lowers the age to apply to 16 years old. It also reduces the time trans+ people are required to permanently live as their authentic gender before applying.

The bill faced legal opposition from Tory MSPs and a handful of SNP and Labour MSPs. Transphobic groups staged protests—interrupting the final vote. 

Despite it being a progressive step forward, we must remain cautious and not complacent. The bill was never ambitious enough to begin with and does not reflect the more radical demands that activists have argued for. And it is not enough to safeguard the rights of trans+ people in Scotland. 

For example, recognition for non-binary people is missing. It also uses the term “acquired gender” to refer to trans+ people’s gender—implying that trans+ people choose their identity, rather than being that gender.

We should celebrate the victories that make life easier for trans+ people in Scotland. But we can’t forget that our role as revolutionaries is to fight for true liberation and an end to trans+ oppression.

Laura Verdasco


Tories won’t fix our NHS 

Newspapers started the year headlining that the crisis in the NHS may leave up to 500 patients a day to die. To comrades reading this and thinking “at least they’ve noticed”, I would sound a note of caution. 

From past experience, the Tory “fix”, when and if it comes, will not be the one we are looking for. My fear is that they are softening us up for a declaration that the NHS “has failed” and needs to be privatised—or rather privatised further. 

The only people who have benefited from the privatisation of the NHS so far, and who will benefit from taking it further, are the fat cats. The government doesn’t benefit, nor does the “taxpayer” whose money the Tories claim they are so concerned about. 

River Axe-the-Tax


The royal family is not our problem 

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke with the royal family, the media went on the offensive with vicious abuse. But for all this, the couple do not criticise the wasteful millions spent on coronations and royal funerals.

They still have their titles and do not question the idea that a select few deserve unimaginable wealth while we accept miserable austerity. It’s easy to say Harry and Meghan deserve no sympathy. After all, it’s hard to relate to someone who wears Nazi uniforms to parties, and a multimillionaire actor. 

Yet Meghan has faced horrific racist and sexist attacks from the media. We must oppose all forms of oppression, no matter who is on the receiving end.

But the lesson to take is that we cannot weaken our positions to seek kinder treatment from the media or defend the royal family. Both completely serve the system. For them, any attack on the royal family, no matter how limited, will also be seen as an attack on the capitalist system they represent.

Matthew Johnson

Walsall, West Midlands

Keep up the China protests

Two young Chinese activists were imprisoned for four years when they collated 70,000 incidents of protests over three years between 2014 and 2016. This is according to evidence from the Chinese police submitted at their trial.

Harvard university’s Kennedy School in the US estimated that there were 40,000 incidents of protests a year, including strikes, before the pandemic. Protests in China will continue because they are seen to be successful, accelerating the lifting of zero Covid and repealing the Extradition Bill in Hong Kong. The future for humanity is bright. 

Lawrence Wong

by email

Right to push for more cash

Why shouldn’t workers be asking for more money? Rishi Sunak and the Tories don’t think it’s a dirty subject, at least when it concerns their pockets.

Don’t apologise. Keep demanding better pay and conditions.

Maureen Spinney


Strike now to save the NHS

Successive Tory governments have created situations that kill off the sick, disabled and old. Contrary to some opinions, I really don’t think it’s paranoid to say it’s deliberate.

But I know even reasonable people saying, “How does striking save the NHS? We just write to our MPs.” I ask, “How has that worked out for us?”

Jackie Manton

via Facebook

All out strike until victory

We need everyone out. I was a coal miner at Nostell colliery near Wakefield and in 1984-5 99 percent of us stayed out for 12 months. If the workers today just managed 14 days across the board these rogues in power would be on their knees.

Martin Sowkowski

via Facebook

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