Thursday September 7 2006
Many of you will be aware that Prime Minister Tony Blair and Education Secretary Alan Johnson are visiting our school today. They are here to celebrate their new agenda for education in England. QK school will be at the forefront of the first wave of 20 or 30 schools to be removed from local democratic control and handed over to big business and religious organisations as "Trust Schools" - as outlined in the recently passed Education and Inspections Bill 2006.
On hearing of this visit, I thought about the many issues at stake and took the decision to inform the wider public about this crucial event that represents a major step in the implementation of privatisation in education. I have been involved in debate about and campaigning against any possible implementation of the Bill. The National Union of Teachers and the main public sector union Unison have clear, thought-out policy against the Bill and its likely consequences in terms of the impact on staff pay and conditions as well as the larger issues of private control of our education system.
I hope members of the large, extended QK community take a long look at the main aspects of Tony Blair’s reforms which are detailed on the NUT website. I believe it is important that we all take seriously our role as stakeholders in this development at QK which will – whatever the outcome – have a significant impact far beyond the school.
What is being developed for education is only one part of the attack on working-class people that is also evident in the privatisation of our health service, public transport and social housing; in the attacks on workers' hard-won pensions and retirement rights; in the scaremongering about refugees seeking asylum; in the demonisation and criminalisation of young people and also of Muslim people. I would also highlight that women, black people and pensioners tend to be most acutely affected by the general decline in life chances for the working class. We face all this because the rich in this country and internationally are intent on enjoying an increasing monopoly on available wealth.
There is a second aspect to this visit that I find equally significant. Tony Blair is a war-monger and arguably a war criminal. Our school has a diverse student body that includes many students forced to flee countries where Tony Blair has been instrumental in the conduct of warfare that is devastating the lives of millions; causing the death of at the very least tens of thousands of civilians and leading to mass flight and displacement. I know that Tony Blair’s wars and anti-asylum laws have been a significant issue for many in our school community in the most direct of ways.
Students and workers at QK will make up their own minds as to how they respond to the issues at stake today. I hope that many of us at QK will join in solidarity with each other today and in the future, in the fight for a democratic, secular and student-centered education system, under the banners of our trade unions and other opponents of Tony Blair, his anti-working class education "reforms" and his wars.
Yours in solidarity,
QK Inclusion faculty (personal capacity)