In my experience of teaching in state schools, most students supported teachers` industrial action, albeit for a variety of reasons, so it was especially pleasing to read the article by sixth-form student, Seamus Jennings in the Morning Star. What a shame no articles in support of the teachers` struggle against Goveism appear forthcoming from the Labour leadership. How they can think any teachers in the state sector will vote for them in the 2015 election beggars belief, especially when the new, privately educated, front bench Labour spokesperson for education sees fit, as his first task in post, to voice approval of free schools, Tory vehicles for the dismantling of the state system of education!
An effective Labour opposition would be offering alternatives, not tidying up Tory ideology-inspired proposals to take education back to the divisive, two-tiered system of the 1960s. Of course, it`s sensible to insist no schools will employ unqualified teachers, but why stop there? In order to achieve a measure of equality of opportunity in post-Gove education, Labour should be proposing to:
Restore all Sure Start centres, and re-install the Education Maintenance Allowance, funded by increasing the tax band for £80-149000 earners to 45%.
End the nonsense of classifying private schools as charitable foundations, so that fees will be eligible for VAT.
Increase social mobility by promising legislation to ensure no university, however elitist it may now be, enrols more than 7% of its students from the private sector, in line with current percentages attending fee-paying schools.
Review all of Gove`s assessment and curriculum reforms, and restore AS levels.
These would suffice for starters, but sadly, Mr Hunt not only seems to be reading from a different menu, he`s clearly at a different restaurant!