|On the campaign stall in Brixton this morning|
The first of those stalls took place in shopping areas today, including in Hackney, Hammersmith, Southend - and in Brixton, where I went with other South London colleagues to help a Lambeth NUT stall that was also building for the 'South London Education Question Time' taking place on Thursday. (Details via http://antiacademies.org.uk/2014/01/south-london-education-question-time/).
There was a constant stream of shoppers and parents taking our leaflets, signing a petition opposing the proposal to set up a Free School on one of the Lambeth College sites, and discussing the unfair pressures on parents, children and teachers under Gove's privatisation and high-stakes testing regime.
Many Associations will be holding similar stalls in the next few weeks, including my own Lewisham NUT Association on Saturday March 8th, meeting at 11am at Lewisham Clock Tower.
Materials and leaflets have been sent to Local Associations by the National Union, so, if you haven't yet made plans for your local stall, then make sure you do so soon!
Copies of the new National Union parents' leaflet and petition can be downloaded from here: http://teachers.org.uk/files/parent-leaflet-a5-4pp-9223.pdf. and http://www.teachers.org.uk/files/stand-up-petition--9265-.pdf.
Here is the main text:
The Coalition Government’s policies threaten the standard of education in all our schools and colleges. Help us to persuade Michael Gove to change course.
1 Ensure every classroom has a qualified teacher
Academies and free schools are now allowed to employed unqualified teachers. This is a big threat to standards of education.
2 Allow councils to open new schools where they are needed
There is a huge pupil place shortage but councils are not allowed to open new schools. Many councils are driven to putting portacabins on school playgrounds to cope. The Government only allows new “free” schools and these are often in the wrong place.
3 Make sure changes to the curriculum and exams are positive and planned
Rushed changes are stressful for children as well as their teachers. The Government should start listening to what education experts say. They should work together with teachers to develop an exciting and inspiring curriculum that equips children for the modern world.
4 Ensure there are enough new teachers – stop picking fights with the ones we’ve got
Michael Gove keeps criticising teachers. Morale is plummeting. Five years after qualifying 2 in every 5 teachers are no longer teaching. On top of that the current system of training teachers is under-recruiting. But instead of dealing with this problem, Michael Gove keeps attacking the teachers we’ve got and they are striking to defend themselves and education.
5 Get our schools working together and fund them properly
The evidence shows that schools working together is best for all children. Financial scandals at free schools show the dangers of privatisation. On top of this fragmentation, 6th forms in schools and colleges are facing 20% cuts while £1.7 billion has been allocated to wasteful and unnecessary free schools.
Join the campaign for education! Our children, young people and school communities need your help.