Another standing ovation for Jeremy Corbyn
The Mail, The Independent and Sky News websites report that yesterday Jeremy Corbyn was given a standing ovation as he broke with tradition and became the first political leader in living memory to address the National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) conference.
“George Osborne used the Budget to announce the forced academisation of all schools”.
The Labour leader brought the packed conference hall in Brighton to its feet as he took to the stage to accuse Tories of presiding over a “crisis in our schools”:
“Let’s be clear – this is an ideological attack on teachers and on local and parental accountability – it was nowhere in Tory manifesto, it’s something that’s just been dreamt up at the last minute and stuck into the Budget.I want schools accountable to their parents and their communities – not as a process of asset-stripping our facilities to be handed over to somebody else. There is not a shred of evidence that academies improve standards.”
The FT adds that he argued that ministers’ plans would lead to the “asset-stripping of our education system”.
Nick Gibb, schools minister, came under fire from his own side on Friday as Conservative councillors spoke out against compulsory academisation (FT).
Ben Harris-Quinney, a district councillor in East Hertfordshire, said turning all schools into academies “represents not only one of the largest education reforms in British history, but also one of the largest shifts of power from local to central government”. He said the chancellor and Nicky Morgan, education secretary, needed to explain why such a significant policy move had not been included in the manifesto “and acknowledge that it marks a clear break with the Conservative party’s previous commitment to localism”. It was “not what the British public voted for, and I don’t believe what either local authorities or schools want,” added Mr Quinney, who chairs the Bow Group, a centre right think-tank within the party.
Melinda Tilley, the cabinet member for education at Oxfordshire county council which includes David Cameron’s Witney seat — also weighed in, highlighting the risks to small village schools. They could be in danger if academy chains decided they were no longer viable, she told the Today programme. “I’m fed up with diktats from above saying you will do this and you won’t do that. This is not why I became a Conservative,” Ms Tilley said. “I’m fed up with diktats from above saying you will do this and you won’t do that. This is not why I became a Conservative”.
The Tory priorities are spending money on a reorganisation nobody wants, to reduce the influence and control of local authorities in order to bring in unaccountable academies.
Mr Corbyn told the conference his late mother was a maths teacher and NUT member, and drew laughs when he identified someone who he said would benefit from her teachings. He said: “There’s one or two pupils around the country who need extra tuition – one of those is George Osborne. “Having just presented a Budget to Parliament that doesn’t add up – in fact it has a massive black hole in it – I think maybe a little extra tuition would be useful to him. “Is anybody offering? Please, somebody!”
“There is a crisis in our schools now. “Children are facing rising class sizes; there is a shortage of teachers, and parents already face a crisis in school places. Forced academisation will do nothing to address any of those problems . . . Yet, in Osborne’s Budget, over £600 million has been allocated to needless reorganisation that has addressed not a single issue that matters to teachers, parents or pupils. Those are the Tory priorities – they’re absolutely not ours.”
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT said that Mr Corbyn asked if he could come and speak to delegates because the approach of the Labour leadership now is to talk to people and have engagement about the policies: “We’ve never actually been approached by anyone else, any politician, who’s wanted to come. So when you get a party leader who’s clearly very interested in doing things differently asking to come, it seemed wise to accede to that”.
Members of the audience shouted: “We love you Jeremy” as he left the stage.
Posted on March 26, 2016, in Democracy, Education, Event, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party, Politics, Watershed and tagged Conservative councillors, Forced academisation, NUT, Osborne's Budget. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.