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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 April 2017

Mood for a fightback at education conferences

Forest Hill school picket line 21 March photo Lewisham Socialist Party, photo Lewisham Socialist Party

Forest Hill school picket line 21 March photo Lewisham Socialist Party, photo Lewisham Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party NUT conference delegates

The main theme at the Easter conferences of the education unions NUT, ATL and NASUWT is one of a fightback taking place.

The NUT has backed using an existing strike ballot to take action over funding cuts. Delegates from Lewisham, south London, where strike action has already taken place at Forest Hill School, moved the motion which identified areas where there can be action. In London around half a dozen different boroughs have seen action but this needs to be coordinated. As Socialist Party member James Kerr said in the debate: "We need a strategy that can win on cuts."

Lewisham delegates held a protest at the conference in Cardiff against the use of 'private finance initiatives' in education, which have contributed to cuts.

NASUWT has also threatened action over workload, and the ATL has explained the need for action at its conference.

Socialist Party members, through the Local Associations for National Action Campaign, also took part in other debates at NUT conference, including defeating an amendment by the leadership which would have watered down a motion committing the NUT to boycott all Sats testing in schools. However the motion itself was also defeated, so the strategy is now to have an internal indicative ballot on the Sats in the Autumn term. A motion was passed calling on the NUT to demand a national contract for teachers.

General Secretary Kevin Courtney gave his speech an hour after the announcement of the upcoming general election and placed all of the key campaigns in the context of making an impact on that election.

There were also big debates on equalities issues. A full report will follow next week.

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In The Socialist 19 April 2017:


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