More than 100 people gathered in Brixton tonight, Thursday, to protest against the selloff of a local Lambeth College site.
Bosses have sold the south London site to the Department for Education. And now academy bosses are plotting to open a free school there.
College workers, students, trade unionists and local residents linked arms around the college in protest at the plans.
Many stressed that the closure of the site would hit the most vulnerable. They said that students who speak little English, have disabilities or are poor would be put off from travelling elsewhere to study.
Akua Rugg has taught at the college since 1990. She told Socialist Worker, “This is an inner city, deprived area. A lot of students here haven’t had the opportunity to study when they were younger.
“One of my students was an asylum seeker who came here speaking no English seven years ago. Now he’s working as a surgeon.
“If it wasn’t for colleges like this one, he would be just another asylum seeker accused of not wanting to contribute to society.”
Maria has studied English at the college for the past three years. “When I came here I couldn’t speak any English,” she told Socialist Worker. “It’s made such a difference being able to come here.
“It’s not fair that they want to close it now because lots of new students are coming in. We need to learn.”
Simon is also learning English. “This college is good for me,” he told Socialist Worker. “It’s nearby and it gives me an opportunity to learn English. It means I’ll have more opportunities for jobs.”
UCU union members at the college are set to strike on Tuesday of next week against bosses’ plans to impose new worse contracts on them. “We’re prepared for an all-out strike,” said lecturer Jane Trenfield.
Workers have called a protest on the strike day from 12 noon at the Clapham site of Lambeth college.
Send messages of support to the strikers at [email protected]
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