Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Defend Education, Vote TUSC

Martin speaking at a TUSC fringe meeting at NUT Conference
As a science teacher and trade union campaigner working in local secondary schools for over 25 years - and with four children who have all been well supported in local community schools - at Adamsrill and Sedgehill - I know that education is a vital concern for families.

Parents will be using their votes on May 7 hoping to elect an MP that they can rely on to campaign for the high-quality education that every young person deserves - but if they are thinking of voting for any of the main parties, they'd be much better voting for TUSC! 

Here are three reasons why:

1. The main parties will all cut school budgets - TUSC says NO CUTS!

It doesn't matter if David Cameron or Ed Milliband ends up as the next Prime Minister, they both plan to cut school budgets. That will mean fewer teachers and support staff, bigger class sizes, more kids without the support they need. 

You don't have to take our word for it. This is what the budget experts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, have worked out from the spending plans of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. The IFS predict budgets will be cut by at least 7% per child by 2020 - that could mean 20,000 full-time teachers losing their jobs!

Sadly, it's no real surprise. After all, when George Osborne's plans for £30 billion more cuts were put to Parliament in January, 515 MPs voted for them, just 18 against!

Which way did Lewisham West and Penge's Labour candidate Jim Dowd vote? Yes, Jim voted for the cuts!

TUSC stands against any cuts. We know that there's plenty of wealth sitting in the bank accounts of the super-rich. Let's use it to educate the next generation and to build a future without cuts and inequality.

2. The main parties support education privatisation - TUSC campaigns against academies

If parents aren't sure that their child's needs are being met, or if their toddler will be able to find a place in a local school, where do they go for help? 

TUSC says 'Hands Off Our Schools'
TUSC thinks that the best way to plan local education, so that those kind of questions can be answered, is if every school is part of a democratic Local Education Authority. That would include parents and staff being represented alongside local councillors. In contrast, the main parties have been encouraging schools to become academies run by unaccountable education businesses. This threatens the future of our elected Local Authorities and has opened the door to privatisation of our schools.

Unlike the establishment politicians, more and more parents, students and staff now understand that academies are not the right way forward for education. In December, hundreds demonstrated outside Lewisham Town Hall to protest against the Labour Council's plans for Sedgehill. Hundreds more are campaigning against academy plans for the three Prendergast schools, including Ladywell Fields. 

TUSC supporters, including Martin Powell-Davies, have been heavily involved in the campaign to 'Stop Academies in Lewisham'. If you want to elect a MP who not only stands against cuts and privatisation but also leads campaigns to defend education, vote for Martin and TUSC in Lewisham West and Penge.

The main parties want even more tests - TUSC says stop failing children, fund schools to meet needs

TUSC fully supports teachers campaigning against plans to bring in even more stressful tests into our schools - including for four year-olds! 

These 'baseline tests' are a Tory idea but Labour aren't opposing them. TUSC says four-year olds are too young to be put through these unreliable assessments. They'll be stressed - and their scores used to label too many of them - and our schools - as 'failures'. 

Testing alone doesn't make any child know more. What schools need to help kids is support and resources - but the main parties are cutting school budgets! What children need is to be happy and confident - but the tests will make them unhappy. What parents need is time to help their children and decent living conditions to bring them up in. Instead, we're having to work longer hours for lower wages and higher rents. 

That's why TUSC says:
  • Stop the cuts - fund schools to meet our children's needs
  • End child poverty. Control rents. £10 an hour minimum wage now.
  • No to privatisation. Stop Academies in Lewisham. 
  • Abolish university tuition fees, bring in a living grant
  • Vote for Martin, a teacher standing for TUSC against cuts
With over 130 candidates standing on May 7, TUSC will be the sixth largest stand of any party in the General Election.

You can download this post as a leaflet supporting Martin via

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