Category Archives: Labour

Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2018 | Professor Stephen Gorard

Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2018

We are delighted to announce that the SEA is hosting the annual Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture at the House of Commons  on the evening of Tuesday 13th November.  The lecture begins at 6pm and will take place in Committee Room 14.

Date and Time:
Tue, November 13, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM GMT

House of Commons, Committee Room 14

This year’s Caroline Benn Lecture will be delivered by Professor Stephen Gorard from Durham University. Stephen is probably the leading academic specialist on all the issues around school choice, selection and its impact on both schools and on young people themselves. His research is absolutely key to understanding how inequality bedevils our school system. Anyone concerned with these issues will need to hear Stephen’s latest views on school intakes and their impact on social cohesion.

Register via Eventbrite to book your tickets for this free event.

We anticipate there will be a high level of demand, so we would advise you to book your place as soon as possible.

‘What would a radical National Education Service look like?

SEA members and supporters may be interested in another event designed to explore the issues around the idea of a National Education Service. It’s at Hamilton House on Wednesday 20th June at 6.00 pm.

Some of the questions that will be discussed at the event include:

– What should a National Education Service be for?
– How can we reduce the fragmentation of the education system and promote lifelong learning?
– How do we improve the parity of esteem between academic and vocational/technical education?
– How can we ensure teachers are trained to teach the whole curriculum, including sex education and PSHE?
– How do we solve the retention and recruitment crisis in teaching?

The speakers are:

Melissa Benn (Campaigner and author)
Kevin Courtney (National Education Union General Secretary)
Gus John (UK’s first black Director of Education and IOE Professor)
Warwick Mansell (Education journalist)
Ciaran Thapar (Youth worker and writer)
Tasnima Ahmed (Poet and educator)
Ali Stephens (Radical Education Forum)
Chair: Holly Rigby (Teacher and Momentum activist)

You can book for the event at

SEA asks the Labour conference to reject all 11+ selection.

edbpltcscoversept2016On Tuesday SEA’s delegate, Sarah Williams, will move the resolution on selective schooling at the Labour Conference. The resolution, if passed, will represent a significant moment in the long struggle against selection. It not only asks the party to oppose the current government proposals but also makes the case for the phasing out of all remaining selective education. The full text is in the previous post on this page.

The latest issue of the SEA journal, Education Politics, addresses the issues around selection in detail. It contains an analysis of the arguments by Melissa Benn as well as a number of personal testimonies to the value of comprehensive schooling. It can be accessed here: education-politics-september-2016.

Defeating the government’s proposals won’t be easy. Ending selection everywhere will be even harder. So we would encourage all Labour members and supporters who want to be part of that campaign to join the SEA – just follow the tab on the top of this page.

Labour Leadership

AFTER HAVING HEARD OF SHADOW CABINET RESIGNATIONS AND OF some mps calling for the Party leader Jeremy corbyn to step down so that a leadership election can take place The National Executive Committee of the socialist educationAL association, at its meeting on Sunday 26th June, agreed that now is not the time for a Labour Party leadership election.


Labour’s Lucy Powell: we will fight any Tory revival of selective schools

Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary

Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary

Shadow education secretary says pending decision in Kent could open floodgates, and accuses Tories of ‘complete lack of new thinking

The Conservatives will drag England’s schools into the past by reviving grammar schools, demoralising teachers and cutting resources, according to the new shadow education secretary.

Lucy Powell, who took over the education role last week following Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory, said Labour would fiercely contest any move by the government to allow the revival of selective schools. A decision on the proposed expansion of a Kent grammar school is expected soon. Continue reading

Labour’s new leader is a friend of the SEA

JeremyCorbynJeremy Corbyn is the clear choice of Labour Party members and supporters. To general surprise, including his own, he won decisively in the first round with nearly 60% of the votes. The SEA congratulates him on an excellent result.

In his acceptance speech the new leader thanked various organisations that had backed him including the SEA. Being mentioned by the Party leader is not a frequent experience for the SEA. We hope that Jeremy’s commitment to making the Party democratic will include greater recognition of the work of the SEA. The signs are that it will. His views on education are close to those of the SEA and that should enable it to play its part in shaping Labour’s education policies under a new leadership. That could be an exciting prospect. Continue reading

Great debate and discussion at this year’s SEA Conference

There was an excellentRichard Pring SEA 2015 debate and discussion of key educational issues at this year’s SEA Conference.

After a scintillating opening analysis by Professor Richard Pring, the conference discussed the aftermath of the general election and started to look forward towards shaping the educational agenda for the years to come.

The Education and Adoption Bill provoked much reaction and was one of the topics under review FullSizeRenderfrom the two speakers panels. In the morning Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary was joined by Eddie Playfair, NewVic Principal and in the afternoon Mary Bousted ATL General Secretary joined new MP Catherine West and SEA Vice President Melissa Benn to discuss the way ahead. We also agreed our supporting nominations for the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party; respectively Jeremy Corbyn and Stella Creasy.


Selection at eleven: what do the leadership candidates think?

ForumCoverThe reluctance of Labour leaders to face up to the question of selection at eleven has now gone on long enough to be a “tradition”. Even now, during a leadership contest, when you might think that Labour MPs might regard themselves as off the hook in terms of constraining their remarks within the bounds of Front Bench policy, some still say things like

We are opposed to selection at eleven, but the mechanism for removing selection at eleven in local areas is through a local parental ballot. It is very difficult in some parts of the country where we have parliamentary candidates, where we need to win seats, where a lot of local parents are signed up to this idea, wrongly in my view, that a grammar school system and a secondary modern school system somehow is better for children, but it is a fact that that exists there on the ground I’m afraid and something that we need to find a way to move that debate on and that is the way I was hoping that we would do so had we been elected.

Continue reading