Tuesday 3 January 2017

'Rescue Our Schools' looks forward to a busy 2017 as they stand up for parents, pupils and communities

I have received this update from Rescue Our Schools, a campaign which made a big impact in 2016, and thought it worth sharing.

 Dear All,

What a year 2016 has been for education. We thought it was time for a quick sum up of the key events and what Rescue Our Schools has achieved in our inaugural year, before we look forward to 2017 and steel ourselves for still more battles to rescue our schools from dogma and cuts. So here goes with ….

The 2016 Schools Report: Department for Education
A Shocking White Paper unleashes a wave of Parent Activism
March 2016: The government unveils its White Paper ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere” and so-called Fair Funding Formula for schools. The plan is to force all schools to become academies and to get rid of the role of an elected parent governor. Within weeks we form Rescue Our Schools, juggling it with parental duties during the Easter holidays. Parent group Let Our Kids be Kids forms at the same time, and within weeks thousands of families support the May children’s strike against the test-driven curriculum in primary schools, driving out creativity and ushering in stress and anxiety for young children in its wake. It’s time to get not party political, but parent political. This was Rescue Our School’s rallying cry as we spoke publicly for the first time in front of 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square, at the People’s Assembly Rally. Wow! We are out there! Next stop the Parents Defending Education conference, where star turn Fiona Forrest speaks alongside Michael Rosen against the prison routine in her daughter’s school. The Guardian covers the story and within days there is regime change at the South London secondary.
Morgan gets her alphabet muddled, and presents an S bend as a U turn
…because it was never really a U turn re forced academisation. The announcement in June that this policy was to be abandoned came alongside a continued commitment to force schools in predominantly academy-run areas to join the club. Likewise, if they were deemed to be failing, they would be forced to become academies. Anyone who cared to read the small print could see the government was still ideologically driven to remove local authorities from education. It goes without saying that there was still no evidence that becoming an academy improved education… That said, we like to think that Rescue Our Schools helped usher in this concession of sorts. Forced academisation was one of the key reasons why we set RoS up. We also contribute detailed evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Education on our deep reservations about multi academy trusts.
Back to the Future with Grammars…
July 2016: Nicky Morgan is sacked as education secretary as Theresa May becomes prime minister. Justine Greening takes over at the Department for Education. Despite being the first comprehensive-educated education secretary, within weeks it’s announced that the government wants to bring back grammar schools.  Another campaign group, the Fair Education Alliance, is set up to fight grammars amid a near consensus that selection will worsen social mobility and damage education for the majority of students.  Discontent among Conservatives is widely reported on at the party conference in October.
 Autumn Brings a Hint of Backtracking..
The March White Paper is quietly dropped.  The government is no longer proposing to drop the role of elected parent governors. This is another victory for Rescue Our Schools: we fought strongly against getting rid of parental involvement. However the government is still pushing hard for multi academy trusts, and their governing structures often give parents little opportunity to be actively involved as governors. RoS founding members are all too aware of this from personal experience. Meanwhile, Justine Greening announces small concessions on SATS and a government-led consultation. Parents and professionals remain unconvinced and set up More than A Score with Rescue Our Schools as a key coalition partner.  The aim of the alliance is to phase out SATS and other standardised tests and bring back a more creative approach in the primary curriculum. Meanwhile, we submit a detailed response to the government consultation on grammars, pointing out that the government’s priority should be funding  and the teacher recruitment crisis, not more piecemeal meddling in school structures. We also speak at the World Transformed festival in Liverpool, alongside the Labour party conference, and at anti-cuts events in both Parliament Square and outside the Department for Education in London.
But the Battle Lines are drawn against Cuts..
Finally, in December the government unveils its proposals to redistribute schools funding. Some areas that have traditionally been underfunded are due to get more money (but by no means all of these areas). Meanwhile, London in particular is due for a 3 per cent hit.  It has achieved better results through greater funding and increased collaboration between schools: both these approaches are under attack from this government. Local campaign groups spring up to fight for investment in our children’s education. At Rescue Our Schools we will support the effort in whatever way we can.
Some wise words for the New Year
Our children are, as ever, our future. Under this government they are being scandalously shortchanged. But there are 14 million households in England with dependent children. That is a lot of voters – and a lot of increasingly disgruntled voters. So, politicians, it’s time to wake up and realise that the more you damage our children’s education, the more we as parents and teachers will damage you at the ballot box. You have been warned…
For all our lovely Rescue Our Schools supporters…
We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas - and thank you for supporting us and believing in us in our launch year. RoS is up and running, engaging parents across the country, and is a partner in key campaigns. All up we have spoken at demos across England and at numerous local campaign meetings against unwanted free schools, multi academy trusts and other ideological intrusions into communities. We expect 2017 to be an equally busy year.

If you can spare a few hours a week to our campaign please get in touch at info@rescueourschools.co.uk.

Remember: We're not party political but we want you to get PARENT POLITICAL!

From the Rescue Our Schools team

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous sounding group, more of this please. Thanks for sharing.