Socialist Worker

Education


Blair's top-up fees will hit working families

13 December 2003
TONY BLAIR claims that top-up fees will make the education system fairer and less elitist. He tries to appeal to ordinary people, asking why low paid hospital workers who did not go to university should pay for "middle class" students to study.

New pamphlet from Sats campaign

25 October 2003
The Anti-Sats Alliance has produced a pamphlet to help build the campaign against damaging national tests for children at seven, 12 and 14. The alliance's steering committee met last week and heard encouraging reports from many areas about the depth of feeling against the Sats tests. The largest teachers union, the NUT, is nearing the end of a survey of its members on whether to boycott Sats.

The education system grades young people like eggs

23 August 2003
THOUSANDS OF school students have been agonising over their A level and GCSE results in the last two weeks. Last week's A level results were the best ever, with the number of young people getting grades A to E up 1.1 percent to 95.4 percent of all those who take the exams. This week's GCSE results were expected to show a similar trend.

Ealing NUT Unity Conference

19 October 2002
AROUND 60 people attended the Unity Conference called by Ealing National Union of Teachers (NUT) last Saturday and heard an inspiring set of speakers. The conference was introduced by Christine Blower, secretary of Hammersmith and Fulham NUT, and ex-president of the NUT.

Support the fight for a living wage

16 March 2002
Over 40,000 London teachers in the NUT union were set to strike for one day on Thursday of this week. This is the first strike by London teachers since 1972. More than 1,000 teachers have joined the NUT over the last few days in order to take part in the strike. They are joining the 41,000 NUT members who have already voted to strike by nine to one.

Privatisation's original sin

16 March 2002
Revelations about Gateshead's Emmanuel College shows where school privatisation leads. The college has been teaching fundamentalist Christian creationism and undermining the scientific teaching of biology. It hosted a conference on creationism last week, and senior staff have given lectures urging teachers to promote creationism instead of evolution.

Mike Rosen on Tests, tales and failure

09 March 2002
Imagine some New Labour minister, press puppet or government geek steps up at a press conference and makes a statement: "Our job in education has always been seen as raising standards. This remains absolutely and unequivocally our policy. To bring this about, many ways have been tried-hiring extra staff, putting money into schools in areas where there is poverty, and supporting children with special needs, whether those are due to deprivation, disability or speaking another language. Sometimes what's been tried is ending the way children are selected for this or that school, or this or that stream. The idea here was that we would treat school students as people who would discover their

Students protest over crisis in education

23 February 2002
Thousands of students showed their anger at the government this week. They are furious that promised reforms of the fees system have been blocked. The eventual outcome may be even worse than what went before. At present many students leave college with debts of over £15,000. Many working class school leavers are put off going to college.

Profits from the teacher shortage

16 February 2002
£679,000-that's how much Trish Seabourne, the boss of TimePlan, pocketed last year. TimePlan is the firm which employed Amy Gehring, the supply teacher at the centre of a court case over sex with pupils.

Schools dream of playing fields

16 February 2002
The scandal about playing fields for children goes on. Under the Tories, Labour was very critical of the policy of selling off school playing fields. But in office New Labour has continued to allow fields to be sold. Amid great fanfares the government announced in 1999 that £125 million of lottery cash had been allocated to create new playing fields for kids.

Guildhall University

26 January 2002
A campaign has been set up at London Guildhall University after management pressurised the student union president and a vice-president into resigning. The university then replaced them with its own unelected appointees.

School protest

22 December 2001
More than 200 students boycotted classes for two hours at a Bristol school on Friday of last week. The school students were protesting at a plan by the Labour city council to close their school.

Labour's gift for grammar schools

15 December 2001
New Labour is to pour public money into grammar schools in a move that John Major's Tory government would have been proud of. The government's schools minister Stephen Timms made the announcement last Sunday.

Schools: profit multiplies division

01 December 2001
New Labour's Education Bill, published last week, is a privateer's dream. It simultaneously "deregulates" schools, opening the way to further involvement by private companies, and tightens the stranglehold of government bureaucrats over what is taught.

Students

24 November 2001
Thousands of students have demonstrated for free education across Britain over the last two weeks. The National Union of Students (NUS) has organised regional rallies to call on the government to reintroduce grants.

Education Action Zones: Private sector failure

24 November 2001
"We experimented with the futures of thousands of children all for the sake of free market dogma. And the experiment failed." Education minister Stephen Timms did not admit that last week. But he should have as he announced that Education Action Zones are to be phased out.

Teachers are right to act on shortages

10 March 2001
Teachers in London and Doncaster were to begin refusing to cover for a record number of vacancies this week, following overwhelming ballots for industrial action. The action, by members of the NUT and NASUWT unions, came just as a survey published in the Times Educational Supplement (TES) found that secondary schools in England and Wales are short of about 10,000 teachers. Teachers in more and more areas are voting for action. Ballots are under way in Leicester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Manchester, Reading and Kent.

Wrong results

10 March 2001
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the body responsible for last year's exams crisis in Scotland where 17,000 pupils got the wrong results, has admitted that it could make mistakes on an even greater scale this year.

Blair's education betrayal

24 February 2001
The right wing press heaped praise on Tony Blair last week for his plans to attack comprehensive education. The Sun said, "We take our hat off to the prime minister." It applauded Blair's spokesman Alastair Campbell for labelling comprehensive schools "bog-standard". The Tories boasted that New Labour had copied their policies. The right wing are cheering the end of working class children getting the right to a decent education.

Education

17 February 2001
Over 70 students at the University of East Anglia demonstrated against Nestlé last week at the official opening of the new PFI-funded campus sports park. We were demonstrating against the sale of Nestlé products in the sports centre and carried banners saying, "Nestlé-show some milk of human kindness" and "People not profit". One banner was done in the style of a Kit Kat wrapper and said, "Nestlé kills kids".

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