Schools

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 29/01/2020 - 08:33
Author

Ollie Moore and Darren Bedford

Although the action is yet to be announced, the next round of the university and college union (UCU) dispute appears set for the second half of February.

Where strike ballots exist, they are either related to action defending the USS pension scheme, or over casualisation, pay, workloads and equalities (the “four fights”), however in most universities live ballots exist for both disputes simultaneously. A further 37 branches are currently being re-balloted, which alongside the live 98, would significantly enhance the strike’s impact, which in November and December saw thousands of UCU members

A national contract for all school workers

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 09:59
Author

Tracy McGuire

By Tracy McGuire

I’ve just been elected to the support-staff place on the Executive of the National Education Union, in a by-election.

My first priority is unionising as many school support staff as possible into the NEU.

Especially with the election, there are going to be cuts to schools and job losses for support staff.

We need campaigns. We need more support-staff reps, and not just as reps for support staff.

At present the NEU has a support staff conference, but it is entitled only to put one motion to the national union conference. [The system was inherited from the ATL, the union that

"Get out of jail free” for bullying bosses?

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 09:07
Author

Patrick Murphy

On 5 December, a slightly revised version of an agreement between the National Education Union (NEU) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) was put to the NEU National Executive for approval.

That agreement had been used in June, as I’ll describe, to sink an NEU dispute at Harbinger primary school in East London.

Kirstie Paton, one of the four Executive members representing Inner London, where the strike took place, moved an objection to reject the agreement and I seconded it. We reminded the Executive of the Harbinger story and emphasised the flat-out contradiction between the

Labour Campaigns Together

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:31
Author

Colin Foster

A coalition of grassroots Labour Party campaigns has launched a website, Labour Campaigns Together.

Its aim is to press the Labour leadership to include left-wing policies voted through at the 21-25 September Labour conference in Brighton in its manifesto and in the actions of a Labour government.

The key policies are:

• A just transition to a decarbonised economy by 2030
• Build 100,000 social rented council homes a year
• Transition to a 32-hour working week with no loss of pay
• Protect and extend the rights of migrants
• End all forms of criminalisation of rough sleeping
• Free our unions:

What Prevent does and doesn’t “prevent”

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:53
Author

Sacha Marten

It’s not just Islamists and the SWP who criticise the government’s Prevent programme. In some ways, the targeting of Islamism is just a welcome bonus for the Conservatives, since the core point is to increase the government’s ideological control over education and other areas where children are present.

Prevent was “revised” in 2011 along with the launch of two other projects, the promotion of “British Values” and the deputisation of teachers, social workers, healthcare workers and so on as immigration officials.

All three of these measures were part of an increasingly jingoistic tone forced

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

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