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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 August 2020

Students 2 : 0 Tories

Protests work!

Now fight for a decent future for all young people

Young Socialists protesting against the A-levels fiasco at Downing Street 15 August 2020, photo Mark Best

Young Socialists protesting against the A-levels fiasco at Downing Street 15 August 2020, photo Mark Best   (Click to enlarge)

Theo Sharieff , Young Socialists national organiser

Protests and anger by school students have forced the Tories into a humiliating double U-turn over A-level and GCSE grade moderation.

The retreat arrived like the slow collapse of a set of dominoes - starting in Scotland, then Northern Ireland, Wales, and ending with England.

Coronavirus has exposed the class divide in the education system. Students are told all their lives that exam results are down to individual performance and hard work alone.

But the whole fiasco around A-levels and GCSE grades has proven the opposite. The moderating downwards of A-level grades disproportionately affected working-class students.

The algorithm used to moderate these grades was largely based on the previous historic attainment of schools - hitting underfunded comprehensive school students far harder than students who attended elite and private schools.

Despite this obvious class bias, students are drilled through incredibly high-pressured exam factories, and told that their individual performance will determine their life chances and future prospects for years to come.

The U-turn we've won from the government is a massive victory, which can only be chalked up to the protests and action organised by young people.

But alone it will not be enough to guarantee a decent future for young working-class people.

For young people, the fight is not over - it has only just begun. Even after the results U-turn, many students have already missed out on the courses or universities that they would have liked to study in. Some BTEC students haven't even been given any results whatsoever.

The only solution to this chaos, where for many students attending university is still uncertain, is for a massive programme of government investment in the universities.

This should give every student who wants to study access to a high-quality course of their own choosing.

And while they're at it, they should scrap tuition fees and debts, and reverse all privatisation and marketisation on campuses as well!

Thanks to years of Tory policies of privatisation in higher education there is a major funding crisis in the universities. But off the campuses, what future does capitalism offer students and young people?

Mass youth unemployment is looming on the horizon. There has been a total collapse in decent training and apprenticeship schemes for young people.

Wherever students go next after results day, they are going to encounter a system in crisis - and a Tory government which is trying to make young people and workers pay for that crisis.

That's why Young Socialists say we need to continue the fight - for a massive government programme of socially useful job creation and real training for school leavers, and for fully funded high-quality university, college and sixth-form courses, linked to providing every working-class young person with a decent future.

Get involved with Young Socialists and Socialist Students if you want to get organised and fight for our futures!

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 19 August 2020:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Students 2 : 0 Tories - Protests work!

Student protests force government retreat

"As a working-class student, I already faced struggles"

Tory track and trace failure

Tory planning deregulation: a charter for building profitable slums

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September school return must be safe for all workers and students


NHS pay

NHS pay: unions must take fight to U-turn Tories


Socialist history

75 years since the publication of Animal Farm: From 'two legs bad' to 'two legs better'


Workplace news and analysis

300 Covid cases at Northampton food plant - management to blame, not the workers!

PCS union: Vote Yes in DWP ballot! Reject longer opening hours

Support the Tower Hamlets council workers, vote for Hugo Pierre!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Black Lives Matter: this generation is willing to stand up and fight

We can't take any more cuts

Nottingham: oppose the far right and attempts to divide us

Your donations help us campaign

Leeds: Little London residents are celebrating

To push change we need to be organised - why we joined the Socialist Party

Sheffield: Support Sue

Brighton: Another luxury development

The Socialist: back to weekly soon


 

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