Archive for the ‘academy schools’ Category

Defend comprehensive education

May 21, 2016


We don’t need no academisation,
We don’t need no mind control.
No funding cuts to education.
Hey Morgan, leave our schools alone.

We don’t need no academisation,
We don’t need no tuition fees.
We stand up for free education.
Hey Morgan, leave our schools alone.

We don’t need no standardised testing,
We don’t need no SATs at all.
We want kids to enjoy their childhood.
Hey Morgan, leave our schools alone.

All in all, you’re just another Tory clone.
Nicky Morgan, leave our kids alone.

Nicky Morgan – career advisor

May 8, 2016

“art holds you back”
constrained, caged, compartmentalised:
dead-end, zero-hour contract existence.

“study useful subjects”
science, technology, engineering:
pointless luxury: culture, humanities

how can you evaluate
happiness, transcendence, joy
in terms of asset management?

not quantified, boxed-in, trammelled
imagination soars – unconfined
by assembly lines; instructions do not apply.

how much poorer would we be
without ecstasy illimited?
put down, downcast, downbeat, dumbed-down, downtrodden

masses, who have courage to ignore advice
of  so-called betters; privately educated Tories
spreading bile and ignorance?

with our libraries closed,
sixth-forms shut
what can we do?

we dare to dream,
we dare to fight,
we dare to win
a fairer world.

Defend comprehensive education

March 17, 2016

I was coming back from London, on a demonstration to save sixth-form colleges and reverse the shocking decline in funding for schools. “Save Our Colleges, Invest Don’t Cut” was the NUT’s slogan.


As we delivered a long list of signatures in a petition to Nicky Morgan, a paper aeroplane came sailing from an upstairs window in the Department of Education – “Youre gay!” it proclaimed, eloquently. “Homophobic language. No use of an apostrophe. Could do better.”


Photo – Jenny Stewart

As I was travelling up the M1, I overheard an alarming conversation – “they are making all schools become academies”. I didn’t believe this at first, and thought this was just a dark sense of humour. His colleague said with an air of defeatism, “Well it has been going that way for some time”. We need to fight the principle of elitism in education and defend the post-war idea of comprehensive education – Tony Blair famously called schools “bog-standard comprehensives”. Yet the comprehensive model, well-funded and with smaller class sizes, is that used by Finland – the most successful education system in the world.

Comprehensive education is the idea that every child, no matter how poor their upbringing, is deserving of the best education possible, provided for by the state. It should not matter what your parents’ economic or social background is – we should be living, in the twenty-first century, in the fifth richest economy on the planet – in a meritocracy.

The Tories are waging outright war on our schools, because they want to smash the public sector, and keep education for a privileged elite.  Again, the culprit is Tony Blair, who under Labour started the process off – but the Tories have taken his ball – just as they have with Labour’s privatisation of the NHS, and the formation of Foundation Trusts – and ran with it.

There is a petition to save our schools from academisation – please sign it here:

But a petition alone will not be enough to stop this onslaught. The strike by sixth form teachers today needs to be the beginning of a massive fightback, involving united action by all education staff. We need to reverse cuts to education and stop the wholesale privatisation of our education system. We must defend comprehensive education.



Leicester Pride

September 1, 2013

This is an article I wrote for Leicester Socialist Party on the 10th anniversary of Pride, celebrating the battle to have a Pride event in Leicester at all.

Yesterday, we had a lively stall, against academy schools, many of which are attempting to bring back homophobic regulations, reminiscent of Thatcher’s hated Section 28, banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ (whatever that is supposed to mean). We marched behind the Leicester and District Trades Council banner, forming a left / trade unionist contingent. Unions had stalls at the event and the NUT were also campaigning against academy schools. In Leicester, Rushey Mead School (where I worked quite a few years ago) is under threat of academisation, and we must build a huge campaign to stop this from happening.

In 2000, the first Leicester Pride event (then called the Mardi Gras) was threatened by the far-right National Front and BNP. The organisers cancelled the event because of threats of violence.

Yet a varied group of people, including Socialist Party members, other political activists and the LGBT community in Leicester, established a campaign “Unity Against Prejudice. On 29 July 2000, despite further threats of violence and a National Front mobilisation attempting to block its route, the Pride event still took place. This fore-runner of today’s Leicester Pride has been forgotten by most. But its beginnings should be celebrated.

The far-right BNP and EDL still threaten to divide our society. We still need to educate and organise against hatred and prejudice.

A sustained and poisonous campaign attempted to link gay men to paedophilia, included the setting up of a group “the silent majority”, which attempted to get the Mardi Gras banned. Letters appeared in the Leicester Mercury, and a petition was taken to the council. The organisers of this campaign were neo-nazis, and used it to try to build their far-right groups.

A Socialist Students meeting at the university discussed LGBT rights. It was attended by people with a number of political stances and they all agreed to the idea of a public meeting in the city centre to discuss putting on an event anyway. We would not stand for any event being cancelled because of threats by the far right. If they could attack Pride then they could do the same to trade union demos and cultural events, such as the Mela or Caribbean Carnival.

Building the campaign

70 people attended the initial meeting and agreed to set up the UAP campaign as well as organising a march from the City Centre to an event on Abbey Park where the original Mardi Gras was to be held.

Unity against prejudice (photo courtesy of Outrage)

Our Aims

We agreed that the march had two aims:

To enable people to celebrate LGBT lifestyles.

To build unity of gay, straight, black and white and all groups of ordinary people against all forms of prejudice.

We built a broad movement, which involved communities, students unions, trades unions etc.

Standing up to far-right threats

During the campaign we were repeatedly threatened by the far right, and many obstacles had to be overcome, but the event went ahead with great success. 400 people marched through the city centre to the festival at Abbey Park. 70 far right protesters turned up but were unable to stop our well stewarded event.

The following year, a Pride event took place without hitch and has become an accepted and established event in Leicester.

Fight for your rights!

Today homophobic crime and prejudice still exist in society; the gains that have been made by the working class, will always be under threat in a capitalist society. Campaigning against all forms of prejudice, whether it be homophobia, racism, sexism or on grounds of disability etc. must continue.

You can help support the Socialist Party by buying a short book of my poems, ‘Little Red Poetry’: Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.