Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/155/7792
Greewich says: Save Our Schools
IAN PAGE, a Lewisham Socialist Party councillor and the Socialist Alliance Greater London Assembly candidate for Greenwich and Lewisham, is backing the 'Save Our Schools' campaign against Greenwich Labour council's proposals which would lead to school closures and privatisation. The campaign has been set up by parents and school workers in Greenwich. They, like many others throughout Britain, are angry at Labour attacks on education.
The council also want to forcibly integrate children with special needs into mainstream schools without first providing mainstream schools with the resources to cope.
The campaign is standing a candidate on a 'Save Our Schools' ticket in a local by-election. The candidate, local Socialist Party member Richard Newton, told The Socialist:
"Greenwich council are implementing cut after cut while going through the pretence of a consultation exercise. People won't stand by and watch their schools close.
"It's time for us to act and for the council to listen. Parents, trade unions and the Socialist Party will fight school closures. We're not fighting just for the sake of it, we're determined that we can win."
The campaign has agreed a demonstration for 13 May, which will draw support from parents borough-wide.
The council's proposals would close Briset and Ruxley Manor primary schools. Both these schools passed their OFSTED inspections; their children achieve good results.
The closure of special schools such as Nine Acres, Maze Hill, Churchfield and Brantridge makes parents and teaching professionals angry. They fear that children with special needs won't be adequately catered for in the mainstream.
The council are using a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to relocate John Roan School. PFI will mean private companies profiting from children's education, cuts in the classroom, lack of community and out-of-hours use of the school building.
Bradley Thomas, a parent from Ruxley Manor school who is campaigning to halt the proposals, told The Socialist: "At first I was shocked and disgusted. I know the school well, the staff are good and my boy enjoys going to the school. We've got a good chance of keeping the school open especially by using the local elections.
"This campaign will show the council what we're capable of and that we will not be dictated to. The Socialist Party's involvement in the campaign has been a great help - we couldn't have got this far otherwise.
"My message to everybody is if you're fighting cuts, fight them all the way, it's our environment, it's our community, they're our schools!"
In The Socialist 28 April 2000: