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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 May 2017

May's grammar school inequality exposed

Corbyn pledges council powers to build schools and take over academies

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

We say

James Kerr, teacher and NUT activist

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to give powers to councils to build schools and take over academies. This is a very good start, much needed to undo the dismantling of state education.

To save state education, he will need to go further and declare he will renationalise the entire system. This alone can enable provision to be properly and democratically planned to serve the needs of all students. It must also mean expanding the curriculum on offer.

Corbyn should campaign boldly on his good starting pledge to halt the 3 billion cuts to schools.

On top of this, he will need to kick the privateers out of the classroom. And while stopping the present cuts is important, he needs also to pledge an increase in school funding to bring down class sizes and solve the teacher workload crisis.

While the question of funding dominates the minds of heads, teachers, students and parents in the general election, the Tories' grammar school policy has also been put under the microscope. Once again it proves to be a policy which discriminates against children from poorer backgrounds.

Social mobility?

Theresa May and Education Secretary Justine Greening have argued that grammar schools can be a vehicle for social mobility. Yet a recent survey of Kent grammars by Education Datalab showed only 12% of students eligible for free school meals passed the 11-plus selection exam, compared with 30% of their better-off counterparts.

The exam boards have also conceded that the 11-plus can never be 'tutor-proof', enabling families to pay to prepare their children for the test.

Any form of selection inevitably creates losers and disrupts the landscape of educational provision for all students. It also flies in the face of years of educational advances, and a recognition by much of the profession that mixed-ability teaching in a comprehensive setting benefits all students, if properly funded.

However, this policy is not about serving the interests of the many, it is a policy born of austerity. With huge cuts to all schools, this is an attempt to appeal to a section of society on the basis that selection will insulate the chosen few from the worst effects of budget reductions.

This outlook already has headteachers writing an open letter to Theresa May warning her of the dangers of cuts, which could even see a reduction in the school week.

An audacious programme for schools would inspire not only current voters, but a whole generation of young people who have a future worth fighting for.

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In The Socialist 10 May 2017:


What we think

Local election results must mean Corbyn campaign is stepped up


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories wrecking our NHS: kick them out!

Corbyn pledges freeze on 'STP' health cuts

Corbyn pledges council powers to take over academies

Tories forced to publish useless plans on toxic air

1,000 super-rich own 658 billion!

Corbyn promises to scrap hospital parking fees

Corbyn would limit TV junk food ads

What we saw


International socialist news and analysis

France: Macron won't solve economic & social crises


Local elections 2017

TUSC's anti-cuts message finds positive response

Liverpool city region mayor election - almost 8,000 votes for TUSC

Tories win West Midlands mayor - the complete failure of the Labour right

Labour hangs on in Wales despite cuts councillors

Doncaster TUSC's campaigning against cuts goes on


Workplace news and analysis

Tube strike at London Bridge over unfair dismissal

After the Unite elections - now turn outwards

Workers fight back against race to the bottom!

Royal Mail walkout over suspension of union reps

Good debate and response at radiographers' union conference


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

US: women ice hockey players' strike threat wins living wage

Featured letter: disabled workers want our voices heard, not charity

Foreign aid corruption: capitalism to blame

Why I joined: raising the ideas of socialism

Theatre review: Fracked! Political satire skewers frackers

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaign launch: "rip-off bosses and greedy bankers - enough is enough!"

Overflowing Corbyn rally in Leicester

Hundreds rally for Corbyn in Leamington

One Housing tenants force housing association back

Jobstown Not Guilty trial round-up

Yorkshire meeting in solidarity with the #JobstownNotGuilty campaign

Socialists tell free marketeers

Packed Socialist Party meeting discusses the general election

Sutton Coldfield socialist campaign stall


 

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