(Un)Qualified teachers wanted.
While the eyes of most people, both critical and uncritical, are drawn to the Olympics, secretary of state for Education, Michael Gove, has introduced possibly his most significant and destructive piece of reform.
Academies no longer need to employ qualified teachers to teach lessons. Gove heralds this as 'freedom' for academies to employ 'the best for the job'. So while trying to raise the profile of teaching, he's doing the exact opposite. But this is a smokescreen. This is nothing to do with profile, or improving education, or getting 'the best for the job'. It has everything to do with driving down pay and conditions.
Bournville School on strike next week. Worthing High out this week. Noel Park School, Haringey out.
Bournville School Strike
Bournville School in south Birmingham is set to face two days of strike action next week over plans to convert the school to 'foundation' school status. Workers at the school had successfully defeated plans to force an academy conversion less than a year ago after threats of joint strike action and a community campaign.
The latest action is set for Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th July in "protest at the failure of the school to enter into meaningful consultation regarding proposed conversion to Foundation status and in protest at the change of employer with resultant threat to terms and conditions."
A few regional stories wound me up this week. Great Yarmouth academy long days. Waltham Forest strike ballot. Islington academy axes free meals. University pulls unpaid job advertisement.
ACADEMY SUPER-LONG DAYS
"The devil will make work for idle hands to do."
The idle hands in question? PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN. Luckily brains-of-britain Gove, has a plan to keep these TERRORS off the streets so they don't grow up to be nasty ASBOs or some thing terrible like that. Keep them in school until 6pm everyday. Every fucking day. 6pm. Every day. Not punishment. Not detention. Just a normal school day proposed at Great Yarmouth's Greenacre Primary School under its academy plans.
About seventy people demonstrated at SOAS on the 6th June, in the continuing battle for better conditions for cleaners in the London universities.
The cleaners at some universities have won the London Living Wage, but they have not given up and are demanding equal conditions of employment for all staff - fair sick pay, holiday pay and pension contributions. Some universities, like UCL, are refusing to make any increase in cleaners’ wages. Others, like at Senate House, have conceded the LLW but are now trying to impose speedup on the cleaners with an increase in workload.
250 people marched through Hackney on Saturday against the threat of 55 redundancies at Hackney College. Although there have been redundancies every year bar one for ten years, this year the proposed cuts are much more serious.
In a borough with 11, 243 people claiming JSA chasing just 669 jobs in the jobcentre, courses that may be closed include basic literacy, basic maths and health and social care. All the courses in the Access department are at risk even though Access to Nursing, for example, is already full with more than a hundred people on the waiting list.
Downhills School in Tottenham were on strike today (22nd May) against plans to turn it into an academy, despite a 91% vote against it by parents. After a picket line of about 40 people in the morning, teachers, kids, parents and community supporters had a picnic. At lunchtime the support workers, who are balloting for strike action at the moment, came to the park to support the strike.
As Downhills kids ran and tumbled around in the glorious sunshine, I talked to teaching assistants and asked them how long they had been at the school. “You could say forty years, because I went to Downhills myself!” one told me. Others told me how their children attended Downhills and said that the school is not failing the kids.
The latest issue of Education Worker, the EWN's bulletin is out, with an Academies Special! We lift the lid on what's happening in schools and academies in particular: what they are, what they do, why they are a problem and what should be done about it. EW#8 can be downloaded from the site, or ask your nearest SolFed local.
An interview with ‘Mike', a London education worker, about the phenomenon of ‘phantom Ofsted' inspections, casualisation and mass dismissals of agency workers.
In London there is a local authority which claims to be the richest in Europe. Despite this, one-third of children in the borough live below the poverty line. In contrast, half of school age children in the locality are privately educated. This means that students left in the state system are overwhelmingly from the local estates. A sizeable percentage of them come from recently settled immigrant families. It is against this backdrop that this particular council began a program which has seen nearly all of its comprehensive secondary schools converted into academies.