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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 February 2010

Socialist councillors back school's protest

ON 20 January, for the second time in two months, over 50 parents came out to protest against horrendous conditions at John Gulson primary school in Foleshill, Coventry.

Rob Windsor, Coventry Socialist Party councillor

Parents' complaints include toilets right next to classrooms, overcrowded reception classes, a non-functional school hall, no medical room and structural problems.

The protest followed one in December and was again 'loud and proud'.

The Parents Action Group petition was presented to Coventry's Tory cabinet member John Blundell. The Tory council attracted a lot of blame for these issues and rightly so.

But both main political parties voted for a schools' reorganisation when the city was New Labour-controlled and a number of primary schools were needlessly closed. This was only completely opposed by the Socialist Party group; we correctly predicted that the city's population would grow and called for smaller classes.

The expectation of schools like John Gulson to take additional pupils into already worn-out buildings created the spark that ignited the protests. Parents fail to see the sense in making plans to extend a school where the core buildings are already decaying - they want a new school.

They hope to invite New Labour education minister Ed Balls to the city. If this happens, let's hope he denounces his government's bailing out of bankers and tying schools' improvement plans into unaffordable private finance schemes and instead offers the cash to build a new school.

We fully supported the parents in organising protests, which were covered on Central TV as well as local media, and will continue to do so.

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