Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/636/10145
Our future under attack
Fightback! Join the day of action on 20 October
It seems that £30,000 a year can almost guarantee you top grades in your A-levels. This year, students from private schools were more than twice as likely to get the new A* grades as those from comprehensives.
Suraj Shah and Ben Robinson, Youth Fight for Jobs
Of course, life is different for the overwhelming majority who go to state schools. Here, the reality of the government's cuts make academic achievement much harder.
The Con-Dem coalition is proposing savage attacks on further education colleges which will probably be increased in the October spending review. The cuts across the sector are set to be £343 million. The lecturers union, UCU, thinks this will amount to 34,000 job losses.
No wonder students from comprehensives can't keep up with those able to afford private education - we're losing so many of our teachers that class sizes are expected to rise by a third!
So fragile is the situation that some students may finish their AS exams, only to come back the next year and find that the course is no longer offered.
Students lose £200
Even the right to attend college at all is being attacked. There will be fewer places because of the funding cuts and many students will feel less able to go because they can't afford it.
One of Education minister Michael Gove's (who attended Robert Gordon's College which charges fees of £29,295 a year) first acts was to abolish Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) end of term payments.
This is taking £200 away from college students from the lowest-earning families.
Those hoping A-levels will be a route into higher education may well be starting to wonder if it's worth it too.
The Con-Dems decreased the planned number of university places as part of their Bloodbath Budget in June and are threatening massive fines for universities who over-recruit students. One in four of this year's students are still chasing a university place and the Ucas chief executive says that 150,000 of them won't find one at all.
This is a government of the rich, looking after its own.
Of the tens of thousands of students who missed out on university, how many came from private schools? Of the nearly one million young people who are unemployed, how many have parents who are millionaires?
Mass campaign needed
Most college students are facing a lack of places, deteriorating facilities, financial difficulties and too few tutors. Youth Fight for Jobs demands a different sort of education.
We demand that these cuts be halted immediately. We demand that EMA be increased and made available to all.
Free education from infancy to university should be introduced along with a grant to cover living costs while studying.
We demand that all apprenticeships lead to a guaranteed job on union rates of pay.
Only a mass campaign of workers and students can win an education system built for the needs of the majority of ordinary people rather than one that can be given and taken away as big business dictates.
Youth Fight for Jobs is organising a national day of action on 20 October to campaign against the cuts, and to bring together all those who want to fight back.
Get involved now and fight for your future!
Youth Fight for Jobs will be campaigning across the country from the first day of term. Get in touch: 02085587947
In The Socialist 1 September 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news
Socialist Party workplace news