Tuesday 2 July 2013

Gove and Twigg deregulate, teachers must escalate!

Weary teachers are struggling on to the end of term but, when it comes to inventing yet more plans to attack education, our politicians certainly aren't winding down.

'The Independent' reports on leaked plans that only confirm what we already knew - that Michael Gove wants to allow big business to make a profit out of running schools. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cash-for-classrooms-michael-gove-plans-to-let-firms-run-schools-for-profit-8682395.html

The report confirms that he wants all 30,000 schools to become academies. To encourage sponsors to take schools off his hands, he wants to allow academies to be able to sell-off land and, of course, to be able to declare a profit to shareholders.

As I have regularly commented on this blog, as have other campaigners, this 'leak' is no real surprise. Gove's agenda has always been to privatise and turn schools, like other public services, into just another source of profit for the Government's big business friends. 

Of course, as in Sweden, allowing schools-for-profit will have a disastrous effect on education - but this Education Secretary isn't interested in education. His main concern, along with his Cabinet colleagues, is to deregulate and privatise public services.

His attacks on teachers' pay and conditions are part and parcel of these attacks, designed to drive down the cost of education so that big business can more easily make profits.

As part of this, the BBC reports that Gove is introducing a 'Deregulation Bill' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23129472  allowing schools to set their own term dates. When combined with the proposed deregulation of teachers' contracts, this is a recipe for a chaotic school calendar free-for-all where parents find that their children are attending different schools with different holiday dates and, of course, overall holidays are made even shorter (even though English schools already have one of the shortest summer holidays in Europe).

You wouldn't expect anything different from Gove but what about the shadow education secretary, Stephen Twigg? Well the BBC reports his response as being: "I'm glad Michael Gove has finally done something sensible". 

Clearly the opposition to this disastrous deregulation isn't going to come from New Labour's Front bench. Teachers are going to have to rely on our own strength to save education from the attacks from all the main political parties. 

We are going to have to go out to parents and the public and explain why our struggle is part of a struggle to defend education as a whole. We will find our campaign gets support - especially when these politicians have the arrogance to take a massive pay-rise while their electorate are struggling to make ends meet.

Above all, we will have to take determined strike action to force back these attacks. June 27 was a good start to the action in the North-West but, as Gove and Twigg deregulate, we are going to have to escalate. Let's name the dates for next term as quickly as possible and, above all, move towards national strike days that bring everyone together and make sure that the politicians and media have to start to take notice.

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