Stand Up For Education coaltion, involving teachers from NUT and NASUWT unions, have been protesting in Nottingham against Ofsted after 6 schools in Nottingham were suddenly put into special measures.
The unions see this as a politically motivated attack on the schools in Nottingham in an attempt to push for more free schools and academies. Even schools that received over 88% in their teaching were deemed ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
After a protest in December under the banner “Hands Off our Schools”, teachers went into Ofsted offices to ‘inspect the inspectors’, to question who they were accountable to and to demand they can look at the data collected from the schools in Nottingham.
Ofsted did not allow the teachers in to inspect – a luxury that schools don’t have when they are faced with constant inspections! They have agreed to a meeting with the unions, however, which would not have happened without these protests.
The Socialist Party demands that Ofsted is abolished. Bullying and target-setting are not ways to provide decent education. We also demand an end to and reversal of privatisation and for schools to be run democratically by elected representatives, subject to recall, including school teachers and non-teaching staff, parents, local trade unionists, community organisations and secondary school students. For more info on our demands around education, see: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/campaign/Education/Ofsted/17569
NUT members at Kimberley School, Nottinghamshire have voted for industrial action against the decision for the school to become an academy. The governors had previously ruled out this option but have since done a u-turn.
Notts NUT and Notts Save our Schools oppose the privatisation of schools in the county and are holding a public meeting on the day of the strike, Tuesday 29th May, at 7pm in Kimberley Parish Hall.
Nottingham Socialist Party supports this action taken by teachers. Academy schools are not controlled by the local authorities and are therefore not accountable. They are run for profit by businesses and not for the good of students. It will also mean an attack on teachers’ pay and conditions.
Education needs to be decent and fully funded – kick out the private profiteers!
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A loud and lively protest took place outside Nottingham City Council’s head office this week, by those teachers, school support staff and parent who oppose the City Council’s plan to alter the school year holiday arrangements.
The protest was organised by the NASUWT teachers union and attended by members of many unions as well as parents and pupils. The main slogan chanted was “Five term year, bad idea!”. The National Union of Teachers has already taken several days of strike action on this issue .
Although at first sight this is a local dispute between unions at Nottingham City and the local council, the issue has national significance not least because the City Council has threatened to force all school staff onto the new working patterns by a ‘dismissal and re-engagement’ process.
Whilst talks between the NUT, City Council and ACAS are currently underway, it does appear the Council is not at this stage prepared to back down. It is essential that the other school unions support the NUT by joining any strike action.
A group of local parents –PA5TY – is also organising against the Council’s proposals and has already organised a well attended public meeting as well as a protest by parents.
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On 25 April, NUT staff at Bilborough College Nottingham took strike action against cuts to frontline teaching services.
This is the latest in a string of strikes by teachers in Nottingham because the city council wants to move to a five-term year. Teachers have been striking for one day each week for the last three weeks, with large protests in the city centre.
Socialist Party member Helen Pattison interviewed local NUT rep Diane Fletcher. She said that last year the teachers had agreed to a temporary increase of 10% in workload. This was the equivalent of half an A-Level group extra. This took time away from supporting students and one-to-one contact time.
Now the 10% increase in workload is being made permanent and management are refusing to negotiate.
Diane hoped they wouldn’t have to take more strike action in the future but also said that they needed to win the fight against these cuts which would be damaging to both teachers and students.
They will be escalating their action to two days. Parents meetings are also being planned across the city to support the teachers.
Over 200 striking teachers protested in Nottingham city centre on Thursday against the city council’s plans to impose a 5-term year. This is despite a consultation which resulted in the majority of school staff, governors and pupils opposing the changes. And now teachers are being told to accept new contracts or face being sacked!
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is against the proposal because it will mean longer terms and shorter holidays which will be worse for staff and children.
The strike was voted for by nearly 90% of NUT members on a turnout of over 50% and meant that two-thirds of the city schools were closed or partially closed.
The Labour council is arguing that children have nothing to do during the long summer holiday. But, as Jean Thorpe from the city council Unison branch pointed out when she spoke at the rally, if they care about this so much, why are they cutting youth and play services this year?
This is just another in a long line of attacks being made on public sector workers and ordinary people in Nottingham. The Socialist Party supports action to stop these attacks. We do not accept that cuts are necessary and demand that the Labour councillors in Nottingham stand up to the Tories and refuse to pass them on!
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, also spoke at the rally giving support nationally for the dispute.
There are two days of strike action planned for next month if the council don’t back down. The other teacher unions ATL and NASUWT are also undertaking ballots for action on this issue. Given the success of the first day of action, teachers in Nottinghamare determined to fight until they win.