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Education round-up – action after teachers’ vote?

This article is over 2 years, 11 months old
Issue 2638
Teachers march in central London last year
Teachers march in central London last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

NEU union members have overwhelmingly voted to support strikes over pay and school funding.

Some 84 percent of sixth form college members and 82 percent of school members backed strikes over pay and funding in an indicative ballot. And 100 percent of NEU members who voted want the union to keep fighting school cuts.

Over 80,000 teachers took part in the ballot. The total turnout was 31.4 percent, falling short of the Tories’ 50 percent turnout threshold for legal strikes.

The NEU will meet to discuss the next steps.

The ballot showed the deep anger in schools and helped to recruit new union reps.

The turnout shouldn’t be used to argue that there isn’t a mood to fight.

Some teachers may have seen the indicative ballot as a “survey” and so not voted.

The best response to the indicative ballot would be to hold a full national ballot for strikes.

But if that doesn’t happen there must be some strikes.

Stefan Simms is divisional secretary for the NUT, part of the NEU, in Ealing, west London. “If we do nothing at all, that will demoralise people,” he told Socialist Worker. “There has to be some kind of action.”

Anti-academies campaigns’ successes

Campaigners against academisation met at the Anti-Academies Alliance (AAA) meeting in London last Saturday.

There were inspiring stories from parents and staff involved in battles against both forced and voluntary conversions.

Alex Kenny from the NEU Executive gave the union’s committed support to all these campaigns and Alasdair Smith, AAA national secretary, outlined why and how to continue fighting this toxic policy.

There were uplifting reports of recent successes, from Lewes to Leicester to Bristol. But there were also appalling stories told by parents of the treatment of some children at academies.

We need to encourage all councils and as many MPs as we can to commit to defending schools against the privatisers and marketeers.

We can win this battle and Saturday showed us the way.

Simon O’Hara

Strike against an academy

NEU union members at The Barclay School in Stevenage began a three-day strike on Tuesday against a plan to turn the school into an academy.

Students and parents joined strikers on the picket line. It followed a successful walkout on Wednesday of last week.

The school is set to be run by Future Academies Trust from 1 February.

NEU members struck against the plan last month. And over 2,700 people have signed a petition against it.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner sent her “full solidarity” to those fighting to defend the school. Rayner said a Labour government would “immediately end academy conversions”.

Messages of support to NEU rep Jill Borcherds at [email protected] and Barhey Singh, divisional secretary, at [email protected] Go to for details. Hands Off Barclay protest Sat 26 Jan, 10am, Barclay School, Walkern Road, SG1 3RB

Fighting the Enfield MAT

NEU union members at Galliard primary school in Enfield, north London, struck on Thursday of last week. Workers are fighting a plan to turn the school into a privately-run academy.

Local Labour MP Kate Osamor joined strikers on the picket line, as did NEU president Kiri Tunks.

The school faces being turned into an academy as part of a Multi Academy Trust along with Wilbury, Fleecefield, Raynham and Brettenham schools.

UCU Left to plan action

The UCU Left will hold a conference and AGM in central London this Saturday.

It takes place as UCU union members at 16 English colleges prepare for strikes and members in universities ballot for action over pay.

The pay ballot involves around 70,000 workers across 143 universities, and ends on 22 February.

UCU Left conference and AGM, Sat 26 Jan, 11am-4pm, Westminster Kingsway College, 211 Grays Inn Rd, London WC1X 8RA

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