Yes we need, public and universal education! Save our schools!!!
The phrase “We don’t need no education” keeps going around in my mind when I see the local schools’ situation. Have the Tories taken this literally?
It is becoming increasingly common to see primary or secondary schools in Reading asking (sometimes, almost begging) for funds from parents and the community around them. An example is Caversham Primary School, marked as Outstanding on recent Ofsted reports – whose awful financial situation recently appeared in the press. This, just after the latest sad news about of the planned closure of Chiltern Edge Secondary School, in July 2018.
The committee “save our Edge”, published a document saying that:
Following a meeting on Wednesday 3rd May, chaired by OCC, parents were informed that if the decision is made to close then the 500 + pupils will have to be relocated to other schools in the area. However, they do acknowledge that currently that is insufficient places available in which to place Chiltern Edge pupils and will therefore have to squeeze them into already full schools” and in the same document, “As parents of Chiltern Edge, we do not want our school to close. We do not want our children to be shoehorned into already full schools. We want Chiltern Edge to improve, thrive and welcome new students year on year.
This situation is very serious, and it’s not just schools in Reading. A teacher friend told me recently of a school in Slough running out of paper. These stories are being played out across the country. The great majority of teachers, school workers, parents and head teachers agree that is part of a national problem. It is not caused by “individual incompetency”, as the Tory government want us to believe. A discourse supported by our representative in the Houses of Parliament: Rob Wilson – Reading East Conservative MP – who said that “the school are not struggling because of funding cuts” . The crisis is caused by continuous funding cuts to the education investment in this country. A quick look at the NUT’s school cuts website shows the schools across Reading looking to lose out under the Tory school funding plan, it’s simply shocking. Yet whilst most schools struggle against funding cuts, the government defends Grammar Schools – in a clear policy of providing good schools for few and nothing to many. This will only further increase social inequality.
What is happening on Education can be seen in different areas. Public Health is also in catastrophic situation, and saving the NHS is as urgent as saving our schools. Public housing, security, public transport and several other areas are facing funding cuts and privatisations. It is a government policy, a Tory policy, to dismount the public services to open doors for the private sector. We know what this means: rubbish services and worsening life conditions for the working class and the majority.
The song from the first paragraph was written in the late 70’s. It reflects a very rich discussion at that time, about the model of education our children’s need to thrive in personal and professional lives. Now, almost 3 decades later, our generation is facing an even more basic education challenge. We are struggling to keep our schools open, to respect teachers and school workers, to have an educational system suitable for all. Our parent’s generation fought for more comprehensives: will our generation be known in the future as the one who allowed the destruction of our public educational system?
This challenge is not only for parents, students, teachers and staff. It is for everyone. We have a chance to stop this attack, and demand to stop the cuts. We can support our schools, and the necessary investment in public and universal education, in all levels. For that, we must defeat the Tories. We need to defeat Theresa May, Rob Wilson and all those who try to blame teachers and parents by a situation caused by Tory policies.
DEFEND OUR SCHOOLS!
Labour Promises on Education
Stop the cuts to school budgets with a real terms increase in funding
Reduce class sizes to under 30 for all five, six and seven year olds
Free school meals for all primary school children
Restore education maintenance allowance for college students
Restore student grants for university students
Scrap fees on courses for adult learners looking to re-train or upskill