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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 August 2020

Student protests force government retreat

Reports from just some of the campaign actions which the Socialist Party and Young Socialists took part in...


London protest organised by Young Socialists against the A-levels fiasco 15 August 2020, photo Mark Best

London protest organised by Young Socialists against the A-levels fiasco 15 August 2020, photo Mark Best   (Click to enlarge)

Around 100 students joined the Young Socialists protest outside Downing Street on 15 August. Whenever speakers compared this government's failure of a generation to its bail-outs for big business, they got a huge cheer.

One student who told us about her downgrades added it wasn't just about her. This was an attack on all working-class young people.

Deji, a young worker and Socialist Party member from Birmingham, said: "There's no reason why a student in Eton should get boosted while a student in Peckham gets their marks downgraded.

It's class warfare in the classroom." Amnon, a computer programmer, explained the problem with algorithms: "Computers can't think. They are programmed by humans. Garbage in, garbage out."

Students also mentioned the mental health crisis, as vital support services have been axed. Young Socialists pointed out that many working-class people grow up in overcrowded houses, and libraries have been closed by both Tory and Labour councils. So where exactly are young people meant to go to study?

Finally, Young Socialists warned that even if protests win a U-turn on exams - as they now have - the education system is still not fit for purpose. It's been privatised and marketised by both Labour and Tory governments.

Helen Pattison

Birmingham   (Click to enlarge)


Sidney Stringer Academy is a school in Coventry, the city where the exam regulator Ofqual is based. This year, 60% of teacher-predicted grades at Sidney Stringer were marked down by Ofqual's algorithm.

The head, teachers and students jointly held a protest to call on the government and Ofqual to address this.

Roughly 150 people attended and heard stories of students who've seen all of their predicted grades marked down, some by two grades.


Over 200 angry school students, parents and teachers gathered outside the Welsh Senedd (parliament). A-Level exams were cancelled this year as schools were closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As a speaker from the National Education Union said, this is an exceptional year, and warrants exceptional measures!

But rather than trusting the professional judgement of teachers, the 'Welsh Labour' government followed the lead of the Tories in Westminster.

It employed an algorithm to penalise students in historically lower-performing schools.

Socialist Party member John Williams spoke at the rally on behalf of the Young Socialists and got an excellent reception.

John pointed out the hypocrisy of Keir Starmer claiming to support teacher-estimated grades, while the Labour-controlled Senedd, did the opposite.

Joe Fathallah



Liverpool   (Click to enlarge)

Such an energetic protest. The working-class students were rightfully very angry with the Tories. They questioned the education system and why their postcode meant they couldn't aim to get to high-achieving universities. Our Young Socialists stall had such a great reception.

Bharathi Suba


There was engagement with Young Socialists campaign stalls across Yorkshire from young people wanting to stop the unfair downgrading of results.

One student in Hull explained many of her friends had been disappointed by their results and were uncertain whether they would be able to go to university.

We cannot allow working-class youth to bear the brunt of Covid-19, and will continue to fight for a better education system.

Julia Louw


Our young members were out on results day, 13 August, fighting against capitalist politicians and uni bosses stealing the future of working-class youth. Don't fail the class of Covid! Fight for public ownership and socialist planning of education, jobs, housing and health!


Strong support from students and the public for our campaign stall on 14 August against the scandal of the A-level results.

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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

NHS workers demand improved pay - 15% for all now!

International socialist news and analysis

Revolutionary mood in Lebanon following horrific explosion

Mass protests and strikes rock Belarus

Leon Trotsky

80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination

Yorkshire: Celebrating the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky


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


Home   |   The Socialist 19 August 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Related links:


triangleCampaigning for socialism at Oxford Brookes Uni

triangleReturning to campus: Students need to fight

triangleScrap tuition fees - end university marketisation

triangleNigeria: Comrade Omomeewa, student leader and socialist campaigner, killed by armed assailants

triangleExam results: grade gap widens


triangleStudents and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

triangleAction marks the way for a national student movement for free education

triangleFighting sexual harassment and gender violence on campus

Young Socialists:

triangleYoung Socialists march in London

triangleYoung Socialists organising for our future

triangleWe won't pay with our futures


triangleMartin Powell-Davies for National Education Union DGS

triangleSchools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

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