The SEA is delighted that Emma Hardy– a Hessle town councillor and ex-primary school teacher – has been selected as the Labour candidate to replace Alan Johnson as the MP for Hull West and Hessle.
Emma, who is also Deputy General Secretary of the SEA, has been an active campaigner on educational matters for many years. We look forward to supporting her during the campaign and to seeing her returned to Parliament on June 8th 2017.
The General Election is upon us and the Labour Party is calling for all stakeholders to contribute to the manifesto process. Here are some ideas from the SEA:
Education Policies for the Labour Manifesto 2017 from the Socialist Educational Association
Labour should commit to:
Maintaining a national schools funding formula but raising funding levels overall so all schools can meet the extra costs facing them.
Raising the pay of school staff so it is again comparable with other graduate professions and properly addressing teachers’ excessive workload.
Restoring the ethos of “every child matters” and ensuring that the provision is there to support it.
In particular, restoring the sure start network to support families and children in the early years.
Engaging schools, universities, employers, trade unions and parents in a long term review of what is taught in schools so that young people can gain the knowledge, skills, creativity and personal qualities needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
As part of an overall restructure of local and regional government, devolving responsibility for planning the provision of school places and monitoring school performance and financial management to local elected bodies.
Maintaining the ban on any new academic selection and committing over time to phasing out selective systems where they still exist.
Reforming the admissions system so as to ensure that the intakes of all comprehensive schools are properly representative of their local community.
Radically reducing the pressure on both children and teachers caused by too much testing and by punitive inspection systems.
Ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop new skills throughout life and can meet the challenges of rapid economic and social change.
Providing long term support to schools in areas where achievement is low as part of a comprehensive regeneration programme.
Respecting research and evidence and listening to both professionals and families before launching new policies.
The SEA delegate to Labour Conference 2016, Sarah Williams, proposed an historic motion earlier today calling for the establishment of comprehensive education throughout the secondary education system and an end to selection and segregation. The motion passed today at conference is as follows:
Conference abhors the Government proposal to encourage the creation of more Grammar Schools in England. Conference believes education is a collective good that benefits, not just individual pupils/students but society as a whole. Conference views the recent proposals set forth by Justine Greening MP for Putney to expand grammar schools and to remove the cap on faith-based admissions as divisive. Conference believes that the best interests of all children, and the country, would be better served by providing adequate resources for all schools to match the highest achieving ones. Conference notes that grammar schools fail the poorest students “less than 3% of their students are eligible for free school meals (FSM), whereas the average proportion in selective areas is 18%” and that grammar schools encourage inequality. Since there is no evidence that grammar schools improve social mobility or educational outcomes conference condemns this proposal as a retrograde step. Conference recognises that the purpose of education should be to provide all children, irrespective of background or specific needs, with the skills, knowledge enthusiasm an understanding necessary to lead a rewarding and fulfilling life. Conference therefore commits the Labour Party to opposing any expansion to selective education and also to the establishment in all areas of a genuinely comprehensive and inclusive secondary education system that provides for all children according to their needs as well as ensuring a greater voice for councillors, parents and professionals.
You can watch Sarah giving her speech here or listen to a recording of it here:
John Bolt, SEA Secretary, has called on SEA members and others attending Labour Party conference to support our motion on grammar schools in the ballot this coming Sunday.
John says, ‘ This is a critical issue. We need to take every opportunity to make the case against this appalling proposal. It is also an opportunity to make the case for taking action to phase out all selection wherever it remains.’ He added, ‘I would like to ask all SEA members to do what they can to persuade their conference delegates to vote for this resolution in the priorities ballot on Sunday. A number of CLPs have submitted similar motions but we need to maximise support for it so that it reaches the conference agenda.’
regrets that a selective system continues in force in parts of the country;
is aware that research evidence, both in England and internationally, shows that that selective schools do not promote social mobility or contribute to the raising of standards.
recognises that the purpose of education should be to provide all children, irrespective of background or specific needs, with the skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and understanding necessary to lead a rewarding and fulfilling life. Labelling children as failures before education has given them the chance to develop, which is what selection does, is one of the prime causes of division and unfairness in our society.
therefore commits the party to opposing any expansion to selective education and also to the ending of educational selection in all state funded schools through the establishment in all areas of a genuinely comprehensive and inclusive secondary education system that provides for all children according to their needs.’
The SEA was very saddened to learn that Ken Purchase, Labour MP 1992-2010 and Vice President of SEA died yesterday.
John Bolt, SEA General Secretary, said, ‘Ken was a very active supporter of SEA and was instrumental in setting up the parliamentary branch and enhancing our relationships in Parliament. He will be a huge loss to SEA and to many of us who know him and hugely enjoyed his company.’
The Sunday Telegraph recently reported that PM Theresa May was planning to scrap the ban on new grammar schools in a bid to boost “social mobility”. Opposition has been widespread but it seems that the myths about the efficacy of grammar schools being engines of social mobility still persist despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Professor Selina Todd’s 2014 Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture provides a coruscating analysis of the case for grammar schools and dispatches the arguments still deployed by anecdotalists in favour of their retention and/or expansion. Continue reading →
Both the BBC and the Guardian are reporting that every school in England will be forced to become an academy, under plans to be announced possibly as early as tomorrow in the aftermath of the budget. This would end more than a hundred years of provision on the part of local authorities. According to the BBC, ‘The proposals under consideration by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan owe much to a pamphlet by Policy Exchange, the Conservative-aligned think-tank, which proposes mass-converting the remaining local authority schools into academies.’ Continue reading →
On Monday 30th November 2015 John Bolt, SEA General Secretary and Sheila Dore, SEA Chair attended an official reception for the Labour Party Socialist Societies at the House of Commons.
It was hosted by Tom Watson, Deputy Labour leader. Not surprisingly in the circumstances there was much discussion of the current situation in the Party and its position on action in Syria. There was also much discussion amongst members of all Societies about changes required to make the process more democratic and the policy more reflective of the views of grassroots members, CLPs and Socialist Societies in particular.
The news links below are provided by SEA members. Each entry in the section below has two parts: (1) a brief description; (2) a link. Clicking on (1) takes you to our news item blog. Clicking on (2) takes you to the source of the news item.
Angela Raynor is Labour's Secretary of State for Education
A recent Guardian article introduced her as follows.
"After a tumultuous couple of weeks for Labour, which saw two of her predecessors – Lucy Powell and Pat Glass – resign, she was announced as the party’s new shadow education secretary on Friday afternoon.
"She is combining the brief with a role as the equalities spokesperson ...
"Another one of these Oxbridge types then? Not at all, before being elected as the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in the 2015 general election, Rayner was a care worker for Stockport council. She became a trade union rep for Unison and was then promoted to senior steward.
"In May 2016, she spoke out against the government’s plans laid out in the Queen’s Speech. Although Labour lost the vote, she won plaudits from commentators and education professionals for her speech, where she outlined how grinding poverty and deprivation had affected her experience of school, saying:
“I was a NEET – not in education, employment or training – and I had no GCSEs at grade A to C; and, as I said, I had a baby at 16. School, for me, was not a place where you went to be educated, but a place where you got away from your parents for a couple of hours while they got some respite from you, and where you were able to see your mates..."
On 23rd September Angela wrote an article for Politics Home in which she said
"I will fight any plans to bring back the selective grammar schools, which branded children as ‘failures’ at the tender age of 11, and which only increase class divisions in Britain.
"I want to see more young girls studying the so-called STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – and taking their place at the top of these professions.
"I want to see academies made more accountable to local people by giving local councils a say and empowering parent governors. There have been shocking abuses of public money in some academies, with bosses feathering their own nests through huge salaries or paying themselves massive ‘consultancy fees’. ...
"At the heart of my approach will be a belief that every child has potential – Labour’s task is to help unleash it."