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
“Stand up for education – Gove must go!” is what hundreds of teachers were chanting as they marched through Nottingham on the day of their strike. The well supported march and rally was applauded by passers by as it made it’s way through the streets into the city centre. This made a big difference to the teachers who were saying “it’s good that parents realise we’re striking for their children”.
One teacher spoke to the Socialist: “It’s a myth that teachers have short working days, long holidays and easy work. We’re concerned that children have enough pressure already, they should enjoy primary school, not be set to figures and results”.
Many supported the demand for a national strike in November, enthusiastically taking the Socialist Party leaflet, and also the demand for co-ordinated action with other trade unions.
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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