Teachers and school students march against forced academies

Paul Callanan Socialist Party London

Thousands of teachers marched through London on 23 March against Tory plans to force all schools to become academies. Thousands more marched in other cities across the country.

The youthful demonstration’s anger was directed mainly at Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. Teachers who spoke to the Socialist Party on the protest were furious at what they rightly see as the latest attempt to destroy state education.

A contingent of school students organised by Youth Fight for Jobs and Socialist Students backed their teachers, leading chants of “Say hey! Say ho! Nicky Morgan’s got to go!” and “Teachers and doctors: unite and fight!”

The march finished with a massive rally at the Emmanuel Centre, just yards from the Department for Education. The 1,000-capacity hall was packed to the gills.

The most warmly received speaker was a junior doctor. She spoke about the need for teachers and junior doctors to coordinate action.

Teachers met this with a standing ovation and chants of “the teachers and doctors will never be defeated!” Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), was also cheered when he announced the union was prepared to take industrial action against Tory plans. NUT conference has now approved this stance: see our update on page 4.

The young, vibrant protest showed there is an appetite for action among teachers. The Socialist Party agrees the NUT should immediately begin discussions with doctors’ union BMA on coordinated strikes.

This should be a step towards united action across the whole public sector, which is under all-out attack from the Tories and the Blairites. Such action could start to draw in private sector unions, and workers not currently in unions, and could finish off this weak and divided government.

The Socialist Party is the leading force campaigning for coordinated strikes to end attacks on workers. If you want to see this achieved, you should join. Visit socialistparty.org.uk/join today!