Give Us Back Our Schools Campaign
The SEA nationally has decide to launch a campaign to defend and develop further existing Labour policy on education as agreed at conference. We are fully committed to restoring democratic control over our schools through local authorities. The Labour Party is currently considering new ‘insourcing’ and devolution plans. Education must be part of them. This time LEAs cannot be remote and bureaucratic with officers playing the role of a mini inspectorate. Instead, stakeholders must have a say in education and governance at area and school level. We do not believe we can fully carry through the changes needed in the curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, to create a more equitable system, until MATS are dismantled and the domination of education policy by Tory ideologues, ended.
How You Can Take Part
In much of the country the party will close for elections soon. As soon as it reopens in May, please put the following motion to your CLP (using your SEA branch or party branch) and either tell me they have agreed it or get your CLP secretary to email me with support. In the meantime, while you are not on the phone banks, you could adapt the motion and take it to parents groups, local councillors, and union branches. We will be launching the campaign at an event in early May which will coincide with our last Education Reimagined event on democratisation. Campaign materials and a special edition of Education Politics will also be produced. As soon as I have these and more information about the launch I will let you know.
Heres is the suggested model motion:-
‘This CLP/organisation notes the Socialist Educational Association is leading a campaign called ‘Give Us Back Our Schools’
We believe that Tory policies are promoting a narrow vision of what education should be and are denying opportunities to many from the early years through to adult education. We need to establish a National Education Service which can enable people to live healthy, satisfying and sustainable lives. To do this we need to bring schools into an integrated, cooperative, transparent and non-selective education system and end the fragmentation brought about by privatisation and marketisation.
We further believe that this transformation cannot be brought about without challenging the culture of centralisation and cronyism that has characterised Tory education policy.
We endorse proposals for “the radical insourcing of public services” and for wider English devolution. Education must be central to these proposals.
The campaign seeks to defend and build support for 2019 Labour Conference policy on education
1. Give parents, education staff and students a real role in how schools and colleges are run
2. Restore school autonomy by taking control over schools away from multi academy trusts
3. End the free school and academy programmes
4. Re-establish local leadership of education by bringing all schools back to Local Education Authorities, properly funded to provide services and democratic oversight. This should include taking steps, over time, to integrate private schools into the public education service.
This CLP agrees to pledge support to the campaign’
Updates on Schools Reopening, Exams, COVID etc.
The SEA fully supports the recent joint statement from education unions on wider schools reopening and calls on the Labour front bench to do the same. We welcome Kate Green’s most recent comments to Gavin Williamson in which she asks why rotas, Nightingale classrooms, effective test and trace, and vaccinations for teachers are not part of the government’s response. She also calls for more resources and for the government to work with the unions on reopening. We think adequate social distancing, particularly in secondary schools, must be in place if another spike is to be avoided. The lateral flow tests are unreliable and schools in more deprived areas particularly are finding it very difficult to get parental permission. My local secondary has only got 27% of parents to agree. It is school staff yet again who are expected to chase up parents and pupils to ensure these tests are taken and they have no means to enforce testing or mask wearing. The government has shown a total disregard for teachers and their unions.
On the exams in 2021, the government does not seem to care about what will happen as a result of its failure to come up with a coherent solution. Instead of putting in place a robust system of moderation with teachers collaborating across schools, as the SEA has proposed, there is a danger that students’ grades will depend unfairly on the approach of their school. The resulting ‘grade inflation’ will be blamed on teachers making it more difficult to argue against linear examinations and for more teacher assessment in the future,
Please watch out for campaign updates and stay safe,
James Whiting (General Secretary SEA)