The Mayor and his cabinet are out to destroy state education in Doncaster.
There is a hit list of schools that have been earmarked to close or become academies. For the sake of our children, we cannot allow this to happen.
First on the closure list is Cantley Sycamore Primary School. This school has been rated as good by Ofsted but is being closed as part of Mayor Davis’ cost-cutting agenda. The council claims that falling pupil numbers means that the school is no longer viable. But the Council has constructively closed the school by failing to advertise it. The solution to falling numbers is simple: advertise the school and encourage the voluntary transfer of children from nearby primaries so that pupil numbers are equalised across the area which would result in lower class sizes.
We applaud the response from parents and governors, which has been magnificent. Taking their cue from the successful fight to save libraries, they have launched a campaign to save the school including an angry demonstration through Doncaster. No wonder their protest was greeted enthusiastically as people recognise that education is the best antidote to unemployment and poverty. And with youth unemployment currently at 20% – the highest since the 1920s – these children must not become part of a lost generation.
If the Government of millionaires want to make cuts, we can suggest a few areas. Firstly, cut the £75 billion Trident nuclear refurbishment programme or save £5 billion on a pointless war in Afghanistan by withdrawing the troops. Or, equally effective, pursue the £40 billion that’s lost in tax evasion every year. Or take the money from the 231 bankers who have just ‘earned’ over half a £billion in share options and bonuses.
Equally frightening is the proliferation of Doncaster secondary schools moving to academy status. Such is the pace of the attack, by this September; there will perhaps be only one or two schools left in the Local Authority.
We need to be clear: academies represent an ideological attack on state provision and are part of Cameron’s plan to destroy the welfare state.
Yet there is no evidence that privatisation, through academisation, delivers a better service. But we do know that local accountability is lost as the community suffers a democratic deficit. Generally, exclusions increase and academies can select on the basis of ability. The curriculum is often stultifying and geared towards teaching to the test – not to creating independent, critical thinkers.
We need to resist these attacks. The toppling of dictatorial regimes in the Middle East shows that protesting works. The first step is to join the TUC demonstration on the 26 March. The protest that will see hundreds of thousands of people from different industries, services and campaigns join forces to stop the Con-Dem Government.
The next step is to join the campaign to defend state education in Doncaster. Through petitioning, demonstrating, holding public meetings and a plethora of other activities, we aim to turn the tide on this vicious Mayor and his cabinet cronies.
We have a public meeting on 27 April, 7.30pm at the Danum Hotel. National and local speakers will be on the platform. All welcome
Joe Henry Doncaster NUT (PC)
Download as leaflet HERE