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Education round up: Protests over cuts to special education needs budgets

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Issue 2657
Marching in London
Marching in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Thousands of people protested over the crisis in Special Education Needs and Disabilities funding on Thursday of last week.

Protests, rallies and other events took place in 28 towns and cities across England and Wales.

Demonstrators called for cuts in school funding to be reversed.

Parent Ann Jillings marched with her son Daniel, who is deaf, in Ipswich. She told a local newspaper, “It’s a worrying picture for the future when we’re seeing services for deaf children cut.”

In London parents, disabled children, school workers and others delivered a petition to Downing Street before rallying in Parliament Square.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU union, said that children and parents are “bearing the brunt of real-terms funding cuts”.

Scottish college lecturers ballot over pay offer 

The Scottish college lecturers’ dispute looks like it is drawing to a close after six months.

Lecturers in the EIS union are balloting on a pay offer.

Although the deal on offer falls short of the original claim, this result is not the drubbing the other side was hoping for.

Scottish lecturers decisively defeated management in 2016 and again in 2017.

All-out indefinite action brought equalised pay and improved conditions across all Scotland’s colleges.

This year, with the EIS asking for a cost-of-living increase, the employers planned to sit out strikes. and break the union. It seems likely they had tacit Scottish government approval.

EIS lecturers held a series of monthly strikes.

This then escalated to two days supplemented by other action—refusing to enter students’ results into college systems.

This ultimately brought some concessions both on pay and separately on conditions.

The results of the campaign are nothing to crow about, but management plans were thwarted and the union comes out of this in good shape.

A fight at Nottingham College 

UCU union members at Nottingham College are balloting for strikes.

The UCU said new contracts would leave more than 80 percent of workers over £1,000 a year worse off.

They would also cut holiday and sick pay.

Workers protested against the contracts at college sites last week. The ballot ends on Friday of this week.

Meanwhile, workers at West Thames College and New City College struck over pay on Tuesday of this week. The action is part of a long-running UCU campaign.

And around 100 UCU union members and supporters protested outside a meeting of the Portsmouth University Executive Board on Monday of this week.

Some 120 members of staff in the Science Faculty are at risk of compulsory redundancy. National pay and conditions are also under threat.

Thanks to Penny Foskett

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