Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/397/4842
Hands off our education!
CAMPAIGNERS IN Nottingham and London have organised protests this weekend against local attacks on education.
In Nottingham, parents, pupils and staff are angry at the City Council's announcement of a major reorganisation of its schools, including building three city academies and closing several primary, secondary and special schools.
Jean Thorpe reports
THE COUNCIL'S announcement comes just as Blair's city academies have been discredited nationally. Unity Academy in Middlesbrough recently failed its inspection. In March 2005, in tables on 14-year-olds' results, nine of the eleven academies were in the 200 bottom schools in England.
The House of Commons Select Committee found academies are far more expensive than non-academy schools. It also noted the poor results and called for a proper evaluation of academies before a full roll-out of the new schools.
In Nottingham the Djanogly Academy has approached Haywood School (which the council threatens with closure) for advice on behaviour management because of discipline problems!
Ian Tongue, parent governor at Haywood, told the socialist:
"The council blame the closures on falling numbers and lack of a suitable site to rebuild. But the high numbers of children going to county schools could be attracted back. A survey of 130 primary parents in the main feeder schools showed 98% would send their child to the local school if it had good GCSE results and a good reputation.
"The council is not looking at the school's long-term viability and the enormous damage to the local community and local economy if it closes.
"Our campaign has had local stalls each Saturday. We have done street canvassing and had over 2,000 unique visitors to our website. We have secured overwhelming support from ex pupils, contacting them via Friends Reunited. We have made a video which we are taking round to councillors on the executive board. You can visit our website at: www.savehaywoodschool.co.uk "
Michelle Batchelor from the Stanstead Action Campaign also told the socialist:
"We are fighting to save our small primary school which has a number of traveller children attending. The parents and children are accepted and welcomed in the school and have experiences of being bullied and persecuted in other schools.
"In our consultation over 90% of parents objected to closure but the council still voted it through. We're in touch with the other school campaigns and we're trying to link the campaigns into a city-wide one."
In The Socialist 16 June 2005: