Sunday, 21 November 2010

Students' walkout on 24 November

One of the worst kept secrets must be the planned school students' walkout of education on Wednesday 24 November. This has been organised by grassroots student campaigns, including the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), and is in protest at the cuts in education; hikes in tuition fees; and abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance paid to over 16s in full-time education.

Some members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) executive have written a statement to support the action, and are urging their members to discuss how they can support pupils who support the walkout. (Students in Further Education and Higher Education are also due to join the protests.)

The NUT exec members' statement is below. More of them are expected to sign it before Wednesday.

Obviously, it's tricky how trade unionists relate to this. We can't just urge the kids to go and do reckless stuff because it gives us a filip, but if they do feel strongly - and they do - and they want to act, we must support them. And, in any case, education trade unionists should be taking action themselves: to defend their own jobs and to defend the quality of the service they provide.
Statement in support of the national day of action against fees and cuts on 24 November, from members of the National Union of Teachers executive

We, the undersigned members of the National Union of Teachers National Executive, wish to express our wholehearted support for, and solidarity with, the national day of protests and walkouts being organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts on November 24th.

The student demonstration against fees on November 10th has provided a huge boost to all those organising to fight cuts and defend public services. The turnout on that demonstration was the most effective response possible to all those who claimed that young people were apathetic and unwilling to fight. We hope that the day of action on the 24th will be a huge success and reinforce that message.

It is clear that many thousands of sixth formers and other school pupils are planning walkouts on November 24th. These young people will be the primary victims of the Coalition's proposal to raise the cap on fees and to savagely cut university funding. They are absolutely right to be angry about this and their keenness to be involved in the protest against fees and cuts is a tribute to them.

We stand wholly in support of those school students who take part in the NCAFC protests on November 24th.

We urge our members in schools to do what they can to support pupils who wish to protest and to avoid, as far as possible, any instruction to prevent walkouts or to retrospectively discipline pupils who take part.

We encourage NUT groups to meet and consider ways in which they can collectively support protesting pupils, protect them from any disciplinary action and send them messages of support to pupils taking part.

Gill Goodswen, National President
Nina Franklin, Senior Vice President
Patrick Murphy; Hazel Danson; Chris Blakey; Ian Leaver; Nick Wigmore; Dave Harvey; Pete Bevis; Simon Jones; Tony Tonks
(more names to come this week...)

Statement written and signed weekend 20-21 November 2010

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