Login

Register

Login

Register

#schoolsafety | Socialist Party :: Schools’ safety | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1123/32115

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 March 2021

Socialist candidate for teaching union deputy general secretary lays out clear programme

Martin Powell-Davis – Socialist Party member and candidate for NEU deputy general secretary demanding school safety on BBC news, 1 March   (Click to enlarge)

James Ellis, Socialist Party and National Education Union member (personal capacity), Leeds

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan for a reckless ‘big-bang’ full return of schools on 8 March leaves education staff, students and their families facing the prospect of an unsafe return.

With many parts of the country still seeing dangerously high levels of infection the National Education Union (NEU) is calling for a cautious phased return of schools, dependent on local infection rates, to ensure we do not see another spike in Covid cases.

On 28 February, NEU representatives from around the country attended a meeting called by Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies – candidate in the NEU’s deputy general secretary election – to discuss a strategy for winning the union’s demands.

The mood of education staff at the meeting showed they were worried but also determined to fight, with every speaker expressing dismay at the government’s plans and agreeing with the need for concrete action to ensure a safe return.

It was made clear that Johnson is not ‘following the science’, with even the government’s own scientific advisors in SAGE recommending a cautious return, and warning that a full opening of schools could see the R-rate rise by as much as 50%.

There were calls from workplace reps for a clear regional and national lead to be given by the union to support collective action, particularly in areas where infection rates are still high and rising.

Numerous speakers pointed out that a return based on a rota system would be much safer, with the reduced numbers allowing for smaller classes and more effective social distancing and ventilation.

Our proposed strategy follows a ‘traffic light’ approach with schools not re-opening until local case numbers are below 100 infections in every 100,000 and full numbers not returning until they are below 50 – providing proper safety measures are in place.

Testing

The current measures in schools are not adequate. The meeting expressed its concern over the proposed use of lateral flow tests. The Socialist Party has been calling for mass testing of staff and students from the beginning of the pandemic – but this should be done in a well-organised and properly resourced manner using healthcare professionals.

Instead, schools are being told to test all students using the controversial lateral flow tests. There are concerns about these tests’ reliability and the ability of students to effectively administer them to themselves. Worse, there were reports of some schools using these tests as an alternative to close contacts isolating following a confirmed case.

Schools are being given a huge logistical challenge by the government – reopen fully and test all students’ multiple times – but without being given the required extra resources. It was pointed out by several speakers that the government has consistently failed to provide schools with the time and money needed to make schools safe, with much of the government’s extra funds being diverted to private tuition.

Local councils are similarly woefully underfunded, with many making education cuts even now – as was pointed out by a Tower Hamlets worker currently involved in strike action to save SEN services in the borough.

The mood was summed up by Newham NEU branch secreatary Lousie Cuffaro who called on the union to back up their demands with action. We should be balloting members now to prepare for a possible spike in cases and should be organising collectively using Section 44 workplace safety legislation in areas where school returns are unsafe.

Martin rightly pointed out that while the NEU has said it will support members who take collective action, in practice it has demonstrated an unwillingness to do so. Schools are under huge political pressure to open and the NEU needs to provide a counterweight to that to ensure safety for all. Martin laid out clear steps that school groups can take to do this alongside lobbying for regional and national coordination.

The mood at the meeting was clear; educators want schools to be open but in a safe and sustainable way. The only way to ensure this is through trade unions making clear demands on the government, backed by the possibility of coordinated workplace action.

If you are an NEU member and agree with this then call a school meeting, lobby your regional officers, and support Martin Powell-Davies’ nomination for DGS.

NEU elections

Support the following Socialist Party members standing in the NEU elections:

Nicky Downes, Sean McCauley, Alex Moore, Sheila Caffrey, Louise Cuffaro for the executive and Martin Powell-Davies for deputy general secretary

Show solidarity – back teachers’ action

My profession has suffered attack after attack from the media. Teachers are fast turning into ‘public enemy number one’ and I’m sick of it.

We are trained professionals who know our students, know our subject, and will make fair judgements. Just like we did last year.

Throughout the pandemic, teachers have worked tirelessly (don’t believe the ‘extended holidays’ lie) for our students. We have been forced into unsafe workplaces and as a result many have suffered. Teachers and education staff are not a ‘special case’ above other key workers, but I do believe that we have been treated particularly terribly by the government and media.

We want schools open more than anyone, but only when it’s safe. We care about our students and our communities, and the action we have taken throughout this pandemic has been for the public good. I hope the NEU teaching union continues to fight for safe schools in the face of this government’s recklessly fast reopening.

Educational disadvantage is a huge problem and education workers know that more than anyone. Once this pandemic is over, politicians and the media will forget about children’s education. We won’t.

Don’t believe the lies being spread about education staff. Show solidarity and back any teachers taking action.

Teacher and Socialist Party member, Yorkshire

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its ‘austerity’ mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party’s material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers’ movements with a socialist programme – one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

In The Socialist 3 March 2021:


Budget

Not a budget for the working class!

Public sector workers respond to the budget


School safety

Schools’ safety – teachers demand fighting union strategy


International Women’s Day

A fighting programme for women’s rights and socialism

A history of International Women’s Day


What we think

Liverpool Labour meltdown – Fight for socialist policies


News

President of ‘big four’ Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

Women’s health matters


Feature

‘Casino capitalism’ – driving another potential financial Armageddon

1981: New Cross Massacre


Workplace

Bus workers under attack and fighting back

Manchester indefintite bus strike against ‘fire and rehire’

HMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

British Gas strike

Sparks force bosses back but fight continues to stamp out deskilling

Reinstate victimised bus driver Declan Clune

RAF Leeming strike escalates

IT workers walkout against ‘fire and rehire’

Victory for Judith, defend Moe


Campaigns

Why we need socialists in London city hall

Socialist Students conference

Stop domestic abuse service closures in Brighton

Swansea Black Lives Matter protest against racist police brutality

Union fight to save musicians’ livelihoods

Labour surrenders to Tories in Devon

Determined to smash the fighting fund target to fuel election challenge in May


 

Home  
|  

The Socialist 3 March 2021   |
  Join the Socialist
Party

Subscribe  
|   Donate  
|   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook


.  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .





Source link

Leave a Reply

Shqip Shqip አማርኛ አማርኛ العربية العربية English English Français Français Deutsch Deutsch Português Português Русский Русский Español Español

National Cyber Security Consulting App

 https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1521390354

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nationalcybersecuritycom.wpapp


Ads

NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY RADIO

Ads

ALEXA “OPEN NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY RADIO”

National Cyber Security Radio (Podcast) is now available for Alexa.  If you don't have an Alexa device, you can download the Alexa App for free for Google and Apple devices.   

nationalcybersecurity.com

FREE
VIEW