Education unions

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 the definition of children who can come in to these schools, to the point where head teachers and school leaders’ unions have sounded the alarm. On Saturday 9 January the government was forced to clarify that key workers should send their children only if they cannot work from home. The numbers in...

Labour retreats on Ofsted and primary tests

Reports that the Labour Party leadership is moving towards reforming Ofsted and SATs testing in primary schools, rather than scrapping them, as promised in the 2019 election manifesto, should give activists and educationalists cause for alarm. Kate Green, the shadow education secretary, in an interview with Schools Week, has said she wants to lower the stakes in primary testing, but does not commit to scrapping the statutory tests. The statutory tests have nothing to do with improving children’s education. They are about measuring schools and school workers to make a competitive, semi-market...

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.

Schools: workers' control vs closure

Ireland’s second lockdown (21 October to 2 December), with schools open, has brought a 75% drop in infections from around 19-25 October to 14 November. The Netherlands’ (14 October, tightened from 4 November), with schools open, has brought a 45% drop so far from a 31 October peak. Wales’s, 23 October to 9 November, with schools closed to 2 November, ended with rates no lower than 23 October but maybe a third below peak around 29 October. Northern Ireland’s, 16 October to 13 November, with schools closed to 2 Nov, has got rates 50% down from the 12-18 October peak. Belgium’s (2 November for 6...

NEU support staff call for rights

The main issue of contention at the support staff conference of the National Education Union (online, 14 November) was a composite motion which called for the NEU to seek bargaining rights and to find a way to be able to actively recruit support staff to the union. The composite motion covered a lot of ground, including pay, conditions, funding, and collective representation. As well as addressing collective bargaining rights and active recruitment, it included calls for Living Wage campaigns for our lowest paid colleagues (e.g. cleaners, catering staff); for mobilising in support of a 10% pay...

Schools and the second lockdown

Throughout the Covid pandemic, but particularly since the wider reopening of schools in June, there has been debate about the role of schools in spreading the virus and the right balance between the need to provide children with education and the most effective suppression of Covid. The key issue for us as socialists is for as many schools to be open as safely and sustainably as possible. The fact is that, for as long as society is affected by the Covid pandemic and there is no widely available vaccine, schools will not function normally and are likely to be subject to persistent closures...

Cash for the NHS and isolation pay!

For weeks now, Solidarity has supported the call by scientists, later taken up by Labour leader Keir Starmer, for a limited new lockdown to slow virus infections. With a “but”. Or rather several “but”s. The agitation by Nigel Farage and some right-wing Tories against restrictions is really a call to favour the better-off who are, or feel, safe from the virus, at the expense of the worse-off in public-facing jobs and crowded circumstances. David Nabarro of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been misquoted by right-wingers. But he is right. “We in the WHO do not advocate lockdowns as the...

Letters: Marsha de Cordova and the Equalities Act; On-the-spot strikes

My article last week referred to a tweeted comment by Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Marsha de Cordova, and her failure to respond to calls to apologise. It’s worth spelling out the detail. The Law Society had published some good guidance on how to support gender-transitioning employees. A transphobic response was published by a blog called “Roll on Friday”. It criticised the Law Society for saying transitioning employees should be able to use the toilet that they are comfortable using, saying that it meant abolishing “single sex spaces” and implying that it went against the Equality...

NEU can prepare strikes

Throughout this exchange between myself and leading AWL members I have been hoping someone might convince me that I’m wrong. I’ve been disappointed. Instead I have been offered only misrepresentations of my position to the point where now, after thousands of words of clarification, I feel the process has been exhausted. This is not a complex theoretical disagreement but a simple matter of industrial strategy. Yet I appear unable to make myself understood. In the latest episode Colin Foster says he sympathetic to my supposed advocacy of a national ballot for “school guarantees” (?) including...

Letters: What about musicians?; Full employment; NEU can prepare strikes

Full employment In the arguments about job cuts, we need Full Employment as the driver of economic policy across the board, not profitability, financial markets, or the growing wealth of the richest. Sunak says we will have to put up with millions of unemployed to “save the economy”. He does get criticised by Labour and left for not supporting jobs, but the fundamental idea that you can separate the health of the economy from the number unemployed has been internalised by the labour movement after 40 years of neoliberalism. Full Employment speaks to general working-class consciousness as a...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.