Firstly well done to all teachers who… LEFT SCHOOL on time (NOT early) to attend the Southwark NUT election meeting. In the end we had four candidates and a highly interesting meeting with three anti austerity candidates across Southwark ( as is Southwark NUT): Nick Wrack from TUSC(Trades Union and Socialist Coalition) Steve Freeman (Republican Socialist), Lucy Hall (Independent) and Harriet Harman (Labour).
Prosepective MPs were asked about:
a) The NUT Manifesto for Education
b) Academies/Free Schools – privatisation in education
c) Teachers’ pay/performance management
On the above in terms of candidates’ responses there was a clear pattern with the anti austerity candidates agreeing with the NUT Manifesto in FULL – (TUSC has formally adopted the manifesto in full). Harriet Harman agreed with some of the key elements of the manifesto but was careful not to state that she agreed with the NUT manifesto in full. On academies/free schools and privatisation we saw agreement on the left to end academies and return them to local democracy and the local authority support. All in the room were against Free Schools, however parent -led academies were seen as a replacements by Labour.
The really interesting discussions were on the whole about pupil engagement in politics and democracy in education and democracy and fairness in general. More on this next time. The general feeling of the meeting was that a Labour/Labour led government would be better for teachers but … there would still, as before, be areas of disagreement/conflict.