Author Archives: johnebolt

Education after the Election – SEA Annual Conference 2017

SEA’s Annual Conference will be an important opportunity to consider the implications of the General Election for education and the issues that are likely to be facing us in the next Parliament.

I can now confirm the speakers and the themes we’ll be addressing. They will be:

  • The political and parliamentary outlook after the election – John Cryer MP Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
  • Child development in the early years and its implications for policy – Pam Jarvis from Leeds Metropolitan University
  • School funding cuts and the campaign to resist them – Matt Dykes,
  • Resisting the return of grammar schools and secondary moderns – Councillor Michael Pavey, Political and Parliamentary Officer, Comprehensive Future.
  • Post election prospects for post 16 education – Eddie Playfair, Principal NewVic Sixth Form College and former Vice Chair of SEA.

The conference will be held in Room B04, Birkbeck College, Malet Street London, WC1E 7HY on Saturday 24th June 2017. The AGM will begin at 10.00 and the Conference will start at  11.00 am.

The cost to attend the conference is £25 waged and £15 unwaged. This includes lunch.

Please book your place by e mail to . Payment can be made on the day.

SEA at the NUT Conference Cardiff 17th April

Towards a new education policy for Labour

Fringe meeting at NUT Conference

Date: Monday 17th April.

Time: 5.45 pm

Venue: Fringe 2 (Level 5) St David’s Hall, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1AH

The SEA wants Labour to adopt more ambitious educational policies.

We want to develop policies that build on the day to day experience of people working in schools.

This meeting will be an opportunity for NUT members to tell us how they would answer the key questions that schools will face in the coming years.

John Bolt, General Secretary of SEA, will outline our thinking so far and Ian Murch, NUT Treasurer, will respond. But most of the meeting will be for delegates to make their contributions to the debate.

If you’re in Cardiff for the conference, please come along to the meeting. If you know people who will be, please forward the details to them.

Find out more about the SEA manifesto at

Education Politics March 2017

The latest issue of the SEA journal, Education Politics has been published and can be accessed at

The main focus of the issue is testing and assessment with articles ranging from early years through to post 16. There is also an article by Mike Kane MP, shadow schools minister, covering a wide range of issues. The current schoools funding crisis is analysed in detail by Martin Johnson

There is also a report on the work of the Labour Party’s education policy commission by Emma Hardy and on the SEA’s own manifesto process by John Bolt.

As ever, any feedback or comments from members and supporters would be most welcome.

Labour and Faith Schools

The issues around faith schools have been of concern to SEA for a long time. It’s therefore very relevant that Labour Humanists is hosting a discussion, led by Fiona Millar, on Labour & Faith Schools, on Saturday 1st April. All SEA members are invited.

It’ll start at 3pm upstairs at Morpeth Arms, 58 Millbank, London SW1P 4RW (

The event is free!

If you have any queries, please get in touch with Lee Stacy, Secretary, Labour Humanists, 07971 265835/ 020 8802 4946

SEA in Liverpool 4th March

The next SEA meeting will be in Jack Jones House (the Unite offices), Churchill Way, Liverpool on Saturday 4th March.

The focus for the members meeting, beginning at 1.30 pm, will be on the next elements of the SEA manifesto. We will be looking at special educational needs and disabilities and at  inequality in education in all its aspects. Background material will be posted on the website in advance of the meeting.

All SEA members are invited to join the meeting. If you can’t be there but would like to have your say on these issues, do send your ideas to

SEA Members’ Meeting pm 7th Jan in Birmingham

The next SEA members meeting is at The Priory Rooms Meeting & Conference Centre, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF on Saturday 7th January from 2.00 to 4.00 pm.

At this meeting we will be starting our series of policy debates looking at

  1. How we ensure there are enough good teachers – covering recruitment, training, CPD and retention
  1. How we can develop a better system of monitoring and supporting schools which is not punitive and genuinely promotes improvement.

Background papers can be found at

All SEA members are welcome.

Towards a new education agenda for SEA and Labour

SEA believes there is an urgent need for Labour to develop a comprehensive education manifesto which challenges the current orthodoxy. We know we are facing crises in teacher supply and in school places. Curriculum and examinations are wholly unfit for the 21st century and the privatisation of schooling is destroying democratic accountability and enabling an unprecedented level of corruption. Teaching is increasingly driven by the demands of the accountability and inspection regime rather than by the actual needs of children and our wider society. We need to respond to all these issues with a new and radical agenda.

SEA has decided to work towards its own policy statement which we aim to publish around next year’s Party Conference. Our work will be based around these ten themes:

  1. providing enough good school places and providing fair access to them for all in ways that strengthen rather than weaken social cohesion
  2. ensuring there are enough good teachers – covering recruitment, training, CPD and retention
  3. improving the quality and availability of early years provision
  4. reducing inequality in educational outcomes – or should this be a theme which runs through all the others rather than something on its own?
  5. improving provision for those with special educational needs
  6. a curriculum (5 to 14) which adequately prepares young people for their adult lives and an assessment regime which supports learning and does not dominate teaching
  7. post-14 education and training which offers all students a full range of academic and vocational opportunities
  8. ensuring that there is adequate funding fairly distributed, less waste and that resources are properly used for the benefit of young people
  9. restoring opportunities for local communities to determine how their local school system is organised and who schools are run
  10. a system of monitoring and supporting schools which is not punitive and genuinely promotes improvement.

The debate will begin in our Birmingham meeting on 7th January when we will look at issues around the teaching profession and around monitoring and accountability.

We would be delighted to receive ideas from our members and indeed from anyone who is interested in making a contribution. All material received will be available on this website under Resources/ SEA manifesto 2017

The Birmingham meeting will be at the Priory Rooms, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF. The policy debate will begin at 2.00 pm and all members are welcome.

New issue of SEA’s Education Politics December 2016

The latest edition of the SEA journal “Education Politics” is now available in the resources section of this website.  A key theme in this issue is the grammar school debate including an article by Angela Rayner, a report on how SEA’s motion on selection was passed at Party Conference and an account of the fiasco that is 11+ testing in Buckinghamshire by Rebecca Hickman. There are also reports of Danny Dorling’s Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture and the annual Reclaiming Education conference and a commentary on the development of a new Welsh curriculum.