Schools

Prevent database revealed

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:56
Author

Zack Muddle

UK police have a secret database with details of thousands of people referred to “Prevent”, the government’s supposed “anti-radicalisation” programme, it was revealed on 6 October by the Guardian, via human rights group Liberty.

The National Police Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is accessible to all UK police forces and the home office, and contains personal details and reasons for “referral” of all those referred. People referred are not notified, and so have no (straightforward) rights to due process.

The stated aim of Prevent is to prevent “radicalisation” which is at risk of

Free school meals for migrant children

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:03
Author

Gerry Bates

On 2 October, the Labour council in Lewisham, south London, agreed that no child in its schools would be denied a free school meal because of their parents’ immigration status.

“No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) policies deny many migrants access to a social safety net, including means-tested school meals.

The Labour Party is now committed to abolishing NRPF outright, after last week’s Labour conference voted near-unanimously last week for a migrants’ rights motion proposed by LCFM [the Labour Campaign for Free Movement]. NELMA (North East London Migrant Action) and LCFM (Labour Campaign for

Make Labour abolish academies!

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2019 - 18:21
Author

Colin Foster

Online only

Labour Party conference in Brighton (21-25 September) voted to: "Ensure Local Authorities establish reformed, democratically accountable local education committees… Ensure all publicly funded schools be brought back under the control of these new local education committees".

Sharper wording had been lost in the compositing, but the clear intention is: bring back all academies and free schools under local authorities.

As with some other left-wing policies, however, it looks like the leadership deliberately avoided argument on conference floor so as not to draw attention to it, let

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:39
Author

Ollie Moore, Jay Dawkey, Cath Fletcher and David Pendletone

UCU ballot opens

University staff belonging to UCU are being balloted for strike action this autumn over pay equality, job security, workload and pay deflation.

Working conditions in higher education have been deteriorating. The gender pay gap is over 15%; over 100,000 staff across the sector are on fixed-term contracts; academic staff work over 50 hours in a typical week; and in the past ten years pay has declined by 20% in real terms.

In 2018 an impressive strike forced pre-92 universities to back down on massive pension cuts, but since then employers have refused to compromise and now they

Letters

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:05

Defining away impairment

My exchange with Janine Booth (Solidarity 513 and previous) started with a comment by me, in an interview with Judy Singer previewing the neurodiversity session at Ideas from Freedom.

Some neuroatypicalities, I suggested, are just “differences”; others are also “impairments”. (There’s a big grey area, as with physical atypicalities).

I cited examples from my experience as a maths teacher. Some autistic students are “just different”. Others, maybe impaired.

Example: “student B” spent most of his school time in the Special Education Unit. The SEU asked him to go to my

NEU “maybe” on ballots for boycott

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 06:50
Author

Patrick Murphy (NEU national executive, personal capacity)

At the NEU (National Education Union) Executive on 13 July, the decisive amendment, passed with just one vote against, proposed that the union consider formal ballots to boycott the tests in selected areas.

The consideration is to be in consultation with the branches, and for areas which achieved the required 40% yes vote of eligible members and those who were close to it.

The Executive report on the ballot had included some recommendations to take the campaign forward, but none had involved any further consideration of action to boycott.

An amendment from supporters of the Education

NEU ballot scores successes

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 10:12
Author

Duncan Morrison (assistant NEU secretary, Lewisham, in personal capacity)

The National Education Union’s (NEU) indicative ballot to boycott high stakes testing in primary schools is due to close as Solidarity goes to press on 2 July.

The indicative ballot has been a success, even if nationally we will not have reached the 50% turnout and 40% of all members voting yes to satisfy the anti-union laws. It is an indicative ballot and it indicates plenty of will to fight on this issue.

The turn-out will exceed the turn-out in the only other national indicative ballot the NEU has run, over pay and funding.

This turn-out will exceed the turn-out in the pay and funding

Letters

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:27

I’d like to comment on Martin Thomas’s tale of contrasted autistic students in his maths class (interview with Judy Singer, Solidarity 510).

For sure, the autistic students he describes are very different from each other — there is a significant contrast between Student A who needs just a little adjustment in order to participate, and Student B who does not participate but knits and occasionally shouts. But it is a leap of logic to automatically conclude from this that Student B is impaired.

Student B is certainly a lot more divergent than Student A: a lot more different from typical

Unison clash over tests boycott

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 07:43

The most contentious debate at the Local Government sector conference of public sector workers’ union Unison, which finished on 17 June, was around a motion proposed by Lambeth Unison, supported by Workers’ Liberty Unison activists.

The motion advocated that Unison organise its members working in primary schools to support the National Education Union’s planned boycott of testing in primary schools. Arguing that “Unison members must not be put in the position of being asked to cover work that another union’s members are boycotting as part of a legitimate dispute”, it asked that all Unison

NEU can win Yes for school boycott action

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 07:40
Author

Duncan Morrison, Assistant District Secretary, Lewisham NEU (personal capacity)

The National Education Union’s indicative ballot of its primary school members to boycott high stakes summative testing opened on 4 June and closes on 2 July. Thus far the turnout seems to be good, if uneven.

Where districts are organising school meetings and phone-banking their members, the results are strong. In those areas, the process of building the ballot is bringing in new members and new reps and building the sinews of organisation that have been missing in primary schools for many years. With continued effort, many districts will pass the 50% turnout threshold.

The ballot poses two

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