Education

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...

School history and Black Lives Matter

A good historian and history teacher is a blend of detective, lawyer, and story-teller. At its simplest history is story-telling with evidence, though for many years history in schools was simply the story of rulers, of so-called great men. The stories of the little people, often far more interesting, were neglected. And the more oppressed the people, the more likely that their story remained untold in history books. Imagine for a minute you are a trans man or woman, or a black trans man or woman. You have all the experience of isolation in a cruel world full of prejudice and, to add salt to...

University jobs at risk

The pandemic, and the fall-off in international student fees which will come as a consequence, has tipped an already unsustainable model of university expansion into crisis. It will speed up marketisation, and bring on cuts harder and faster than they would have come before. The government has brought forward some payments due to universities to avoid a cash-flow crisis, but as yet has refused to provide extra funding to fill what could be a £1.7bn gap. It is unlikely to want to see universities closed outright, especially in marginal constituencies. But some of the more vulnerable...

Return to school?

The National Education Union has produced five tests for the reopening of schools. They are: much lower numbers of cases; a national plan for social distancing; comprehensive access to regular testing for staff and pupils; a commitment to testing a whole school when a case occurs; and the option for vulnerable staff, or those who live with vulnerable people, to continue working from home. These are fine as far as they go. A more general slogan being used by teacher and school worker trade unionists about the reopening of schools is “not until it’s safe.” This really has to be understood as...

The SWP and high-stakes testing

For the last four years members of the Socialist Workers’ Party have fought militantly AGAINST the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and then the National Education Union (NEU) balloting its members to boycott SATs and the other high-stakes test in primary schools.

Why we're "paper-sellers"

Over the decades, pretty much every socialist effort of any substance has been organised round, and defined to the broader public by, a newspaper or magazine. The movement’s chrysalis stage, in the 19th century, of secret societies and of attempts to establish utopian model communities in remote areas, was different, but the rule holds since then. It is an oddity of today that there are socialist groups which have no regular publication, the SWP splinter groups Counterfire and RS21 for example. But they are small and not-very-active groups. Today, too, as of old, the “apparatchik” layer in the...

For a National Education Service

To produce the goods and services we need efficiently and without exhaustion and destruction – to reshape our economy to avoid climate catastrophe – to add beauty to life – to be informed about our social conditions and equipped to debate and decide on them – we need education. Decades of battle by the labour movement have won us universal, free education to secondary level, and even the chance for many young working-class people to go on to university. But the Tories have been stunting that and winding it back. The huge increase in student fees in 2010 has hit older and part-time university...

School funding: don't give comfort to Tory election gimmicks

Patrick Murphy (personal capacity)

On Friday August 30th the Tory government announced an increase in funding for schools over the next 3 years. They spun it as a £14bn increase and Boris Johnson boasted that this would “make sure every child receives a superb education regardless of which school...

Defend NUS democracy!

This year’s National Union of Students (NUS) Conference in Glasgow (9-11 April), will be very different to previous years′. Elections will take place on the first day before motions debates begin, no official fringe meetings will take place due to "lack of funds for staff", and delegates will vote on a reform motion coming from the right-wing led by President Shakira Martin, which proposes scrapping all remaining structures which enable rank and file control of NUS. The Student Left Network (SLN) has been opposing these reforms since they were first announced. The soft left in NUS are also...

Teachers' pay fight: why only in Scotland?

Scottish teachers marched in Glasgow on 27 October demanding an austerity-busting 10% pay rise. 30,000 attended the march organised by The Educational Institute of Scotland, excellent numbers considering there are around 50,000 teachers in Scotland.

The campaign Scottish teachers are waging is...

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