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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2011

Tory cuts hit children and young people

Members of the teachers' union NUT on the 26 March TUC demonstration, photo Suzanne Beishon

Members of the teachers' union NUT on the 26 March TUC demonstration, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

A leading think tank has estimated that the Con-Dem coalition's spending cuts could push another 300,000 children below the poverty line.
Tory work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith justifies the cuts in benefits and services on the grounds that Labour's anti-poverty spending had failed to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
Of course, the Tories' attacks on the low-paid and poor will certainly make a difference - they will vastly increase the wealth gap and the class gap in education.

Coventry teachers strike against academies

Sunara Begum

Teachers at Tile Hill Woods secondary school in Coventry held their third strike on 13 May against plans to turn their school into an academy. Their determined fight has gone from strength to strength.

Their first strike had 20 members of the NUT teachers' union on strike, the second had 70 teachers, as members of another teachers' union NASUWT joined them. Teachers at Woodlands Secondary School have now joined in, striking against plans to turn Woodlands into an academy. NUT members from Derby visited the picket line in solidarity as did members of Unite, Unison and CWU unions.

Many teachers told us they were striking against academies to oppose the divide in education that the academies would create and the two-tier system it would establish.

Striking teachers from both schools later held a rally that heard speakers from the Anti Academies Alliance and residents from the local Charterhouse fields campaign. Teachers feared the financial disaster that academy status would spell for our schools. This would lead to a lack of resources, as well as abolishing public accountability in our schools. Crucial rights of teachers, such as maternity leave and long term sick pay, would be abolished, as businesses step in to run the academies.

After emergencies such as fires, schools would be at the whim of insurance companies, well known for dragging their heels for months on end. Under the current system local education authorities can and do step in straightaway with funds and facilities to help schools continue immediately after an emergency. All this support and funding is directly under attack.

No doubt education will suffer, as academies siphon off money and resources to consultants' salaries and shareholders' dividends. Our children's education would be secondary to making profits for fat cats playing in the casino of capitalism.

The rally ended very positively, with a discussion on how to build the struggle against academies. Teachers discussed drawing support from the local communities that the schools belong to - parents, school pupils and trade unionists.

Teachers want to get as many people as possible to show their support and join the campaign. Young members of the Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs offered to help build support for the anti-academies struggle amongst Coventry's school students and young people.

The Socialist Party stands shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers fighting to maintain and improve our comprehensive education system.

Public meeting: "Trust teachers - say no to academies!". Wednesday 25 May, 7pm at the Standard Social club, Herald Way, Canley (opposite Sainsbury's).


Warning from Blue Coat school

Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist told strikers that Blue Coat School in Coventry had also applied for academy status and wants to take 60% of the Charterhouse public park under its control.

The local community and school shared the park for 45 years, but Blue Coat now wants absolute control and only seems willing to allow limited use by the neighbourhood.

Dave said that if a Board of Governors treated its neighbours like that, then once governors gained greater control over staff terms and conditions, union members were right to ask how their pay and conditions would be treated in future as an academy.

Blue Coat school had also borrowed money from other Coventry schools' reserves and bought old allotments next to the school, clearly to provide further room for expansion.

If it became an academy, more of a business than a school, its expansion and increased student numbers would come at the expense of other schools. Competing academies are bad for education across the city.

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In The Socialist 18 May 2011:


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike back at pensions robbery!

Fight all the cuts - come to the NSSN conference


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Battle for the NHS!

Derriford hospital announces huge cuts


Socialist Party editorial

Crisis deepens in the eurozone


Socialist Party news and analysis

The Hardest Hit march and rally

Teachers' strike stops job cuts

Iraq war: Labour's lie machine

Pay gap grows ever wider

News in brief


Socialist Party feature

Britain now facing crisis on all fronts


International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: The 'no change' elections


Socialist Party workplace news

UCU at the crossroads on pensions

CWU conference: Support joint union action on 30 June

BA dispute: Mass meeting votes to put latest agreement to membership

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

Con-Dems: Supporting Youth Enslavement

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs regional conference


Socialist Party feature

Tory cuts hit children and young people

Teachers strike and parents picket at Shorefields

Campaigners put pressure on Lambeth council


Comment

The difference a union makes


 

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