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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 November 2016

Library cuts: working class kids suffer most

Marching against library, gallery and museum closures, 5.11.16, photo by Paul Mattsson

Marching against library, gallery and museum closures, 5.11.16, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Akila, Birmingham secondary teacher

Walsall council, in one of the poorest areas of the west Midlands, is closing 15 of its 16 libraries. Sadly, this is just one of many examples of ruthless cuts which will deny young people a future.

The way children have been taught to read at schools has significantly changed over the past 20 years. However, it is still children from poorer backgrounds who are more likely to struggle with reading.

Libraries are a free resource which allow children to improve their literacy outside of school, regardless of their background. In cutting funding to libraries, it is children from less well-off backgrounds who will lose out the most.

As a child, most of the books I read were from the library. Without this, it is likely I would not have learnt to read so quickly and, as a result, I would not have done as well at school or got into university.

Cutting funding to libraries is not the only way the government is preventing pupils from poorer backgrounds from achieving their full potential. It is also cutting the money available to provide teaching assistants to support children who struggle with reading. Schools are required to give evidence of how they help pupils who need extra support to achieve their potential.

Equality gap

However, instead of providing the funding for pupils who need it, the government is making cuts which mean that these pupils lose out and putting pressure on teachers to close the gap. Meanwhile, the proposal to bring back grammar schools will only widen the equality gap further, demoralising a generation of children and denying them a future.

Labour runs Walsall council in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. This shows that we need Labour councillors who fight cuts, not close libraries.

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In The Socialist 9 November 2016:


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Related links:

Libraries:

triangleBromley library workers strike against running down

triangleSave Essex libraries protest

triangleWorcester libraries campaign victory

triangleWorcester: Fightback against library cuts

triangleWorcester library cuts: staff not even consulted

Working class:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Why do socialists still talk about the working class?

triangleInterview: protests over killing in Israel

triangleGreece elections: Syriza ousted amid voter disillusionment

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Corbyn and the working class

Library:

triangleWorcester: Building on our successful library campaign

triangleWorcestershire: save the nine libraries

triangleWorcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts

Cuts:

triangleHereford and Worcester: stop the fire cuts!

triangleIlford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Children:

triangleHealth workers strike against 2,000 loss of pay

Schools:

triangleHuge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant

Government:

triangleYork Socialist Party: National Government 1931 - lessons for today

Walsall:

triangleUniversal Credit workers' strike

West Midlands:

triangleTheatre: Rouse, Ye Women to tell story of 1910 chainmakers' strike

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: How can we stop the rise of the far right?

Teaching assistants:

triangleSchools unions must turn anger into a fight against funding catastrophe

Liberal Democrats:

triangleLib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

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