Fight for Education

When they announced the closure of Sycamore School, lots of people thought it was worth standing up and fighting for, and they were right to do so. Why shouldn’t we expect the best possible education for our kids, instead of them being forced into ever larger classes in fewer schools. Parents went out onto the streets, protested and gained lots of support for the school. They were at the time the only ones challenging the council’s policy of rationalisation of education in preparation for privatisation.
Now, as the closure date nears, the same anger which drove the parents into protesting still exists but amongst fewer parents as many of them have found alternative schools for their children. The remaining parents feel they have been let down by the so called consultation process in which the council took no notice of the anger and concern they expressed and simply moved on to issue a statutary notice of closure.
Some 3,400 signatures on a petition to save the school has now been handed in to the authority, which in itself represents quite a strong argument for the school to remain open. However Mayor Davis and his cabinet of nasty right wing political nonentities who by fluke are running the Labour dominated council, are completely subservient to the cutting regime of the ConDem government in Westminster.
This willingness to expose the people of Doncaster to the full force of the anti working class policies of this government is leading the council into speeding up the process of handing over the majority of our secondary schools to private ventures. This will be followed by the incorporation of the feeder schools (Primaries) into these privately run academies, and then we will have an education system completely detached from any democratic control.
This process is happening so fast that it appears unstoppable to most people.
Teachers are in the main, accepting what is happening even though their trade unions policy is to oppose academies. The authority and school management have been successful in creating a climate of fear amongst staff which means that they are not even questioning the process openly.
But recently, there has been a small but significant group of parents, teachers and trade unionists who have formed a group, Save Our Schools, to raise awareness of what academies really are like.
Leafleting at Hall Cross and Danum schools has led to a very successful meeting at The Point where a now growing number of people have decided on a series of activities to expose the move to academies as a bad deal for the future of education in Doncaster.
The unprincipled way in which outside ventures are looking to extend their empires into Doncaster’s schools should tell us that improving the education of our children is not their priority. The head of one of these organisations has raked in a million pounds of taxpayers money over the last 4 years and is now under investigation.
The Save our Schools development presents the Save Sycamore Primary School campaign with the chance of linking up with others fighting for the future of education. Parents at Sycamore have been discussing whether to occupy the school. We should encourage them to do so as not only would it reinvigorate their campaign, it will help highlight what is wrong with an education policy which talks of improving education yet plans to close schools and throw the rest into the arena where the emerging education companies are already vying for the spoils.

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