13 May 2013
Kevin Courtney, Chris Keates, teachers, parents, governors and pupils addressed the 800 strong NUT / NASUWT rally for Education on Birmingham on Saturday. The rally was held across 3 separate rooms as a result of the size of the turnout.
The Rally was preceded by a march of 200 teachers who weaved through the city to the rally. The march was led by the Hamstead Hall NUT banner and reps, who have struck twice against the proposal to turn their school into an academy, and a planning a further strike this Thursday.
The meeting produced a devastating critique of ConDem education policy. Kevin Courtney described Gove as a ‘snake oil salesman’ as he described the accelerating privatisation of our schools. Chris Keates said , “This weekend is the third anniversary of a Coalition no-one voted for.”
Kevin said that the planned strike on the 27th June in the North West is Gove’s fault and Gove could end it.
The Unite the Resistance West Midlands conference was well received and 10 people registered to attend at the Rally.
Protecting Teachers, Defending Education Rally, Leeds
Around 400 people gathered together in Leeds for a Rally for Education on Saturday ahead of rolling strike action by teachers beginning in June.
The event was organised jointly by NUT and NASUWT representing 90% of teachers in solidarity with governors, parents and children. Speakers were applauded loudly in a packed conference hall at the Hilton Hotel as they described how comprehensive education was being undermined by Mr Gove’s department, alongside disruptions to sure start and the EMA, and how teachers were being devalued and forced into competing for pay rather than working together for children.
Alongside Union leaders Christine Blower and Patrick Roach impressive speeches were also delivered by Sheila Banks (school governor of 23 yrs), Emma Harding (infant school teacher), Charlotte Brady (parent).
Rhiannon-Skye Boden, a 15yr old secondary school pupil from Leeds who delivered an articulate and damning view of recent changes in education . She described worries about a ‘horrible, souless and grey curriculum’ akin to something out of Roald Dahl where pupils equate to data points ‘waiting only to be filled with facts’, where creative and vocational talents are marginalised, where teachers are obstructed from teaching and the lucky few who do not learn to fail then face university fees tripled.
She summed up much of the feeling in the hall when she said, ‘To put it bluntly I’m scared for my own future. What horrifies me most is the thought of being useless . We are the future and we are not commodities. If league tables were the goal the government would be satisfied but they are not. This is the systematic re-evaluation of what intelligence actually is in order to make it easier for us to fail & no doubt when this downward trend begins the fault will fall on the younger generations for being lazy.’
To the teachers she said ‘If you strike we stand by you, as you inspire we stand with you, and when you teach we learn from you’. Regional strikes begin on June 27th in the North West of England.