Class Struggle's blog

Pimlico academy workers vote 81-2 for ballot on strikes

National Education Union General Secretary Kevin Courtney reports:

Indicative ballot of NEU members at Pimlico Academy sees 93 per cent voting to move to a formal ballot on industrial action.

81 voted yes, 2 voted no; NEU has 87 eligible members at school.

Formal ballot was authorised...

Close votes at NEU conference

The National Education Union (NEU) met online from 7 to 9 April for an annual conference of reduced length due to the exigencies of having to meet online.

“Kick the racist out!” Rebellion at Pimlico Academy

On Wednesday 31 March, their last day of term, almost a thousand students at Pimlico Academy, the flagship school run by Future Academies, sat down in the playground and refused to go to lessons.

The students were protesting a racist school uniform policy, which instructed students with afro...

NEU: defend reps, act against "exam factory" system

Delegates to the National Education Union (NEU) Conference will meet online on 7-9 April, 9.30am to 3pm each day. A "Defend NEU Reps" fringe meeting, Thursday 7pm, provides an opportunity to show solidarity and build the campaign to defend NEU Reps who are facing victimisation. The fringe meeting...

Secondary exclusions up from 6.7% to 10.8%

Black-Caribbean, and mixed-background Black-Caribbean-white, students suffer more fixed-term exclusions from schools in England than white students.

There has been outcry about this in the media, and a justified call to investigate possible bias and cultural insensitivities.

The overall statis...

Building pressure on school bosses

In the campaign in defence of victimised NEU [National Education Union] rep and NEU National Executive member Tracy McGuire, local trade unionists and councillors have signed a press release, and plans are afoot for community activists to seek a meeting with Tracy’s school, Rydal Academy in...

What's "left" in the NEU?

The NEU [National Education Union] Left was launched as “a membership organisation” on Saturday 13 March. It was “launched” as a brand over two years ago, at the NEU conference.

Over those two years, it has existed as a nebulous bureaucratic lash up between the Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA)...

School cleaners' strike wins

Cleaners in the United Voices of the World union (UVW) at La Retraite Catholic girls’ school in south west London have secured a 24% wage increase, full contractual sick pay, and the repayment of withheld wages, just three days into a planned 40-day strike.

The strike, which involved cleaners...

Link up against school victimisations

A well-attended online organising meeting on 9 March discussed Tracy McGuire’s victimisation by Rydal Academy, Darlington, and since then there have been three days of strikes by NEU [National Education Union] members at Shrewsbury College in defence of NEU rep John Boken. Their strike action is to...

Workers' control and the Chicago model

On 6 February, the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) issued a “framework... relating to resumption of in-person instruction” to its membership, and their vote to ratify was reported on 10 February.

That framework included familiar features. Every CPS (Chicago Public Schools) facility must have...

Jobs cuts in schools

Financial cuts and local falling rolls in Lewisham, south-east London, are threatening school workers’ jobs. At Conisborough College, a secondary school, a proposed re-organisation is threatening to lose six teacher roles. It is thought that a second re-structure of support staff may follow. In...

Karen Lewis lit the spark

Karen Lewis, leader of the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike, died of cancer on 7 February 2021. An obituary in Labor Notes here describes her role in building a rank-and-file caucus in the Chicago Teachers’ Union and then leading the CTU.

School workers lead fight to curb new virus variant

Pushed by school workers in the National Education Union (NEU) refusing to comply with school reopening on 4 January, the government on the evening of 4 January announced a new lockdown.

It is vital now for the labour movement to take the initiative and campaign on our own program, rather than...

GCSE chaos: abolish the grades!

Across the UK different regional governments have taken different approaches to the sitting and grading of school exams in the summer term of 2021.

In Scotland the National 5 (GCSE equivalent) exams have been cancelled and grades will be determined by “teacher judgement supported by assessment”...

The SWP school of falsification part … ad nauseam

The SWP's policy in the NEU of toadying up to the bureaucracy and siding with it against militant industrial trade unionism has exposed the organisation for the fraud it is time and time again.

In the latest episode Chris Denson (who?), a third rate SWP hack and bureaucrat who seems to be...

Sywell strikes against academisation

The first the staff knew about this decision was from a leak in the local pub. An ex-governor had told another ex-governor that the Governing Body had made this decision in December 2019. The news spread like wildfire and therefore the governors had to announce it to the community in January 2020...

Grades in 2021

The government has said GCSE and A level grades for 2021 will be done on teachers’ assessments.

That may be better than the botched algorithm attempted in 2020. But every school will seek to report results a bit better than 2020 or 2019. A student’s grades will depend as much on their school...

Workers' control and school safety

From 5 January all secondary and primary schools moved to being physically open only to vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Learning for other students is being offered online.

There continue to be struggles over the specifics of this. Firstly, the government has tried to widen...

Workers' Liberty Model Motions for NEU Confernce 2021

If you support one of our motions get in touch with us to discuss the upcoming National Education Union conference and try to pass one of our motions through your local NEU meeting. Motions must be submitted by districts by midnight 3rd December.

Grades? Let the students into uni!

By a London Teacher

Scottish school students received grades for Nationals, Highers and Advanced Higher courses on Tuesday 4 August.

Grades had been estimated by schools after exams were cancelled due the Covid pandemic. 125,000 grades, or a quarter of the total, were lowered by the Scottish...

A ragged 1 June, but schools union grows

By a primary school teacher and NEU activist in Lewisham.

On 30 May, four scientists from the government’s SAGE advisory group went public saying that the Tories’ easing of the lockdown, including the wider opening of schools, is unwise at this time.

The number of cases and the infection rate...

Debate on the NEU and balloting

1. Todd Hamer

To the casual observer there is something very odd about what is happening in the National Education Union. For some weeks the NEU leadership has rightly argued that it would be unsafe to reopen schools until there is a lower number of Coronavirus cases making possible tracing and...

Unite, schools and 1 June

The big union Unite has signed up to the “education unions' statement on the safe reopening of schools". This statement calls on the government “to step back from 1 June” and identifies the following core principles:

• Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle

• No...

Children, parents, school workers: stand together!

The education unions are right to say schools should not accept further mass return of pupils until the five tests are met. We should fully support any school workers who will take action on health and safety grounds from 1 June to keep their workplaces open only to vulnerable and key workers’...

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