Teacher and student outrage at Tories

by Secondary school teacher, North London

Tories out demonstration
Tories Out demo, Manchester 1.10.17
Photo: Paul Mattsson

I was with a number of 14 to 15-year-olds on a school rewards trip on the day Boris resigned as Tory party leader. We were in a bowling alley, and suddenly a huge shout went up. Teachers ran around assuming a fight had broken out. But it was actually the students responding to seeing Boris Johnson on the big screens, stood outside Downing Street and resigning!

The expectation of my students, including the older A-level students, is that there will be a new government next week, or a general election next month. When we explain to them that if the Tory party has its way, they will decide the next prime minister behind closed doors, there is real outrage and anger. The unfairness really bites for them.

Meanwhile, every teacher is talking about Michelle Donelan’s severance package. Serving as Secretary of State for Education for 36 hours between 5-7 July 2022, she is entitled to a payout of over £16,000 – more than most support staff get in a year!

At the same time, teachers are waiting for the ‘Pay Review Body’ to make its recommendation on our pay. Teaching unions are demanding that a pay deal keeps up with inflation. It is possible to exploit the government’s weakness, but only if we apply the pressure. That’s why Socialist Party members have been campaigning for the National Education Union to prepare now for a national strike vote if we don’t get a decent pay rise.