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How Can Labour Re-Build Trust With Teachers?

17/04/2014
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Public meeting during NUT conference

7pm – 9pm, Saturday 19 April 2014

Refreshments available from 6.30pm

Community Base (South Wing door), Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

Can't improve educ by alienating teachers

Teachers believe Michael Gove is ruining our schools with “corporate greed” while studies show that overwork is turning both students and teachers into “ghosts”.  Yet despite polls showing strong public opposition to the Coalition’s education reforms, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt has said Labour won’t unnecessarily reverse the Coalition’s changes and that  he  accepts many of Michael Gove’s policies.  When Hunt spoke at the ATL’s April 2014 conference why did he choose to highlight INSET days rather than (just for starters) the inconsistency of Ofted reports, Gove’s increased politicisation of the curriculum,  moves to “Gradgrind for tiny tots” if testing at 4 is introduced, or children increasingly starting school at age 2 in the intense battle for school places?

BH students against Gove

Why isn’t Labour opposing the Coalition more strongly on education  when the tables seem to be turning against Gove and his policies are so hated by teachers, school staff, students, many parents and most Labour Party members?  When will Labour’s national leaders stand-up to defend free state education in the way Labour members demand?

How Can Labour Re-Build Trust With Teachers_19.04.14_G

Join Kevin Courtney – the NUT’s Deputy General Secretary, Nancy Platts – Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemp Town & Peacehaven, Paul Shellard from Brighton & Hove NUT currently actively campaigning against Hove Park School becoming an academy, Brighton school student Sian Carey,  plus a GMB representative of local teaching assistants, who have been campaigning for over a year against Coalition cuts.  Discuss what we can do – either to change Tristram Hunt’s mind about supporting Coalition education policies, or to change Ed Miliband’s mind about Tristram Hunt.

Stand Up for education

Hear a real teacher’s voice! We were recently contacted by a Labour Party member and teacher who had “received a really naff reply” after contacting Ed Miliband and wanted to share the letter sent. We’ve anonymised it as requested; otherwise, this is as sent:

“Dear Mr Miliband,

My name is ….. …… and I am writing to you with regards the grave concerns I have over Labour’s Education Policies.

At present I am an experienced primary school teacher, a member of the Labour Party and ……, so it is with great disappointment, anger and disillusionment that I am writing this letter.

My first concern is that Tristram Hunt recently announced that Labour would continue with the academies programme. When New Labour first introduced the academies programme (privatisation – let’s call it what it is) many of the public, not just Labour supporters, were disgusted that Labour had introduced such a programme and had moved so far away from its core values and beliefs. This, along with many other factors, led to Labour losing its core support from the public and then, as a result, losing the last general election.

Academies are, and continue to be, a dangerous and ineffective initiative in our education system. They are undemocratic, divisive, unaccountable on many key issues, selective, unsuccessful in raising standards, a threat to pay and working conditions and, most importantly, are a threat to high quality teaching and learning as they are often more concerned about the ‘business side’ of things as opposed to the children and staff.

Secondly, I am further angered and disappointed to hear that Labour would continue with the free school/parent led programme. Free schools have recently proven to be a waste of time and money and are similar to academies in that they are not democratically accountable and do not raise standards. In fact, free schools are performing no better than maintained schools according to Ofsted judgements in 2012/13 and fewer are ‘outstanding’ compared with maintained schools.

Thirdly, Tristram Hunt’s announcement that Labour would not tinker with Michael Gove’s reforms to the curriculum is absolutely appalling. A national curriculum should be an exciting and rich curriculum that enhances learning and attainment – the exact opposite of the draconian and dry curriculum that Mr Gove has engineered. The curriculum was written by Government advisors and officials, not those that should have been involved (teachers) and reverses a lot of good work and progress that has taken place over the years including the implementation of The Rose Review.

Furthermore I am very concerned by the ‘Teacher License’ proposal because as teachers we are constantly made accountable through performance management, lesson observations, book scrutiny, pupil progress meetings, learning walks and Ofsted. There are already enough systems in place for accountability most of which create an atmosphere of ‘fear and mistrust’ in schools. I myself, despite the fact I am continually graded Good/Outstanding, feel like a ‘wild animal being stalked’.

In addition to this the lack of support for teachers from the Shadow Education Secretary is absolutely disgraceful. His statements that he supports Michael Gove are deplorable and not what the continually undermined and undervalued teaching profession wants to hear, especially from the opposition.

Furthermore the recent teacher workload survey showed that teachers are working up to nearly 60 hours a week yet this has failed to have been mentioned by Mr. Hunt or The Labour Party not to point out that there has been a big increase since Michael Gove took over from Ed Balls. The announcement that Labour would not be supporting the NUT strike action despite the fact that morale in teaching is at an all- time low and many are leaving the profession or want to leave (myself included) is appalling, especially when most teachers are looking to Labour (the party that is supposed to represent the workers) to support and defend our profession.”

If you can read this thank your teacher

 

 

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