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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 November 2020

Overcrowded Little Ilford School strikes against more expansion

School strike rally 12 Nov photo: James Ivens

School strike rally 12 Nov photo: James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

A huge picket line, 50 strong, launched the strike against forced expansion of Little Ilford School on Thursday 12 November.

The enormous comprehensive in Manor Park, east London, already teaches 1,470 students. Labour-run Newham Council wants it to take 1,800. Any more would overwhelm students and staff.

Ebullient pickets chanted "stop the expansion" and sang protest lyrics set to the Sister Sledge hit 'We Are Family' as smiling Year 11 students filed past.

Staff voted overwhelmingly against the expansion. One picket told the rally that the council's 'consultation' spoke to just 12 parents!

Socialist Party member Louise Cuffaro, secretary of the borough's National Education Union branch, told the strike rally: "We will strike until they listen!" Newham NEU has accepted the offer of talks - it's the council which has refused to engage - but plans to keep the strike on until there is an acceptable proposal.

The council has known about the need for more secondary places for six years. It's a consequence of Labour's gentrification projects in surrounding areas, combined with Labour's compliant execution of Tory austerity.

Now the council wants to cram working-class kids into an already under-resourced school at the eleventh hour. Of course, the local authority is making promises of more facilities and staff to sweeten the deal.

But as another striker told the rally: "We need those things now, even without hundreds more students. We need family liaison now. We need more teaching assitants now. We need vocational subjects now."

The need for a working-class alternative to both Tory and Labour anti-worker politicians is plain. The Socialist Party says that the experts in fighting for the working class are people like those on strike at Little Ilford. They should consider standing candidates in the 2021 Greater London Authority elections with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

The NEU nationally should also take note. This kind of action across the country is what is necessary if we want schools to be safe. Little Ilford's next planned strike days are Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 November.

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In The Socialist 18 November 2020:


What we think

Tory crisis cannot be 'reset' - workers need a new mass party


News

Tories in turmoil... 'Reset' the whole system! Fight for socialism

Croydon Council declares bankruptcy - no cuts in Croydon or any other council

System failing thousands of children in care

Race disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all


Covid

Covid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism


Students

Tories student 'evacuation' plan will not work

Wales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?


Schools

Campaign for school Covid safety must continue


Workplace news

Women workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

Optare: Right to strike defended

Overcrowded Little Ilford School strikes against more expansion

Strike action ballot at UEL over job cuts

Hackney council parking services brought in-house


TUSC

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Campaigns

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Manchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

#SpyCops inquiry - Revealing police violence against Socialists

Selling the Socialist

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Youth

Young Socialists organising for our future


Obituary

Obituary: Paul Chettle


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

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