Your article suggesting that ‘crazy’ teachers allowed school students to join Wednesday’s demonstration misses the point entirely. Teachers did not encourage pupils to be absent from school. That was a decision made by the students and their families.
But is it any wonder that so many decided to protest? Their hopes of a university education are being snatched away from them along with the Education Maintenance Allowance that so many of our poorest students rely on.
Young people who took a collective decision to protest about such a threat to their futures should not be treated as if they were just unthinkingly 'truanting' lessons. The footage of 15-year olds in Whitehall standing arm-in-arm to persuade others not to fall into the trap of attacking the conveniently abandoned police van shows an admirable degree of bravery and understanding.
It is the Metropolitan Police who should be explaining why they provoked such tensions by refusing to allow the march to proceed along the route agreed with the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign.
Teachers will continue to work to get the best exam results for our students. But it is for Government to provide the jobs and university places that previous generations would have expected in return.
Martin Powell-Davies, Member of the NUT Executive for Inner London.