Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2013

GCSE U-turn shows all Gove's 'reforms' can be stopped

Jim Thomson
NUT protest outside the Department of Education by teachers and parents opposed to the GCSE regrading in August 2012, photo Neil Cafferky

NUT protest outside the Department of Education by teachers and parents opposed to the GCSE regrading in August 2012, photo Neil Cafferky   (Click to enlarge)

Teachers, parents and students will be happy about the Con-Dem education minister Michael Gove's climbdown over the English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC).

Gove's retreat shows that the coalition can be forced to backtrack in the face of united pressure.

The EBC was designed to replace certain GCSEs, supposedly reversing the "dumbing down" of secondary education and making the testing of students "more rigorous".

In reality the EBC was part of the Tories' political ideology; testing knowledge rather than developing the skills of the students in a positive way.

This knowledge-based approach benefits students from wealthier backgrounds.

It ignores much of the excellent educational philosophy and child psychology of the last 20 years that shows that skills-based learning is far more beneficial for individual child development and, inevitably, social mobility.

Back to the future?

The EBC was designed to move education back to the 1950s - where students rote learned kings and queens, 19th century poems and times-tables.

Gove's defeat was due to united opposition from the unions, educationalists, the media, the Welsh Assembly and the Education Select Committee.

However, the EBC was just one small facet of a wider dangerous education policy. Gove is determined to privatise education completely.

Aspects of this have included attacks on national pay and conditions, the academisation of comprehensive education, the expansion of the 'free school' programme and significant cuts to pensions.

These attacks need to be fought by teachers, parents, students and the community; otherwise we will see the end of comprehensive education as we know it.

However, on these battles we cannot expect to be supported by anti-working class MPs or the media.

Therefore we need a much stronger leadership from teaching unions, especially the NUT and NASUWT.

This should include a programme of action, starting with a 24-hour strike before Easter and escalating to a 48-hour strike early next term to coincide with May Day.

While we welcome the end of the EBC, the government's Dickensian policies will continue to plague education until united opposition, led by the unions, forces the Con-Dems to backtrack completely.

Lobby the NUT executive: No more delays! Call national strike action now!

Wednesday 27 February, 5pm

NUT HQ - Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD (Kings Cross/Euston tubes)

Fight performance-related pay

The news on 10 February of a 'secret memo' revealing the "full extent of Michael Gove's plans to revolutionise education", allowing academies and free schools to make a profit, will come as no real surprise to teacher trade unionists.

Gove wants performance-related pay (PRP) for teachers to cut costs for his big business friends. Gove also hopes PRP will divide the workforce and undermine collective trade union action too. A strike against PRP is also a strike to help stop privatisation.

The Mid-Staffs hospital scandal is also a stark reminder of what can happen to public services when they are dominated by targets.

But time is running short to stop Gove's pay proposals becoming implemented. Agreement across London Region NUT for a demonstration against Gove on Wednesday 13 March is a good way of mobilising for national strike action - but when will that action be called?

Wednesday 13 March could have been the first strike day, but the NUT executive narrowly voted against this.

Warwickshire NUT and Liverpool NUT have added their names to the list of London Associations that are lobbying the NUT executive on 27 February. The executive needs to call strike action this term.

Martin Powell-Davies, NUT executive member

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 13 February 2013:

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

'Save our A&E' - Defend the NHS

Mid Staffs hospital scandal: Big business culture kills

Socialist Party news and analysis

GCSE U-turn shows all Gove's 'reforms' can be stopped

Smash the blacklist - not the unions!

Victory over 'workfare' sanctions

Horsemeat scandal: good for profit, bad for health

"Fully funded" social care plan - still needed

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

15 February 2003: A million on the streets to stop the war

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning against cuts

TUSC: 'No cuts' candidate in Eastleigh

Nottingham: Campaigning for comedy without misogyny

Support the fight for a socialist alternative

Socialist Party 2013 national youth and student meeting

Socialist Party workplace news

Unison region calls for general strike

Care workers fight cuts in pay and conditions

Workplace In Brief

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Martial law ends ferry workers' strike

Reviews and readers' comments

Low pay + high prices = debt misery

Film review: 'No' - an exercise in rewriting Chile's history

Spielberg's Lincoln by Tony Mulhearn


Home   |   The Socialist 13 February 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

triangleFreshers week campaigning reports


triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleEducation cuts forced back

triangleEducation cuts: Tories buckling under public pressure


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot


triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained



Tories torn - bin them now


What we saw

What we saw



Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy



Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!



Young people being strangled by debts



The end of the Tories?



Nasty party out the Tories


Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity



Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right


Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty


Them & Us

Them & Us



NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts



IMF helps cause inequality it slams



Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice