Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/22522

Posted on 4 April 2016 at 15:09 GMT

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo by Pete Fry

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo by Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Save Pent Valley school demonstration demands a council u-turn

Dave Semple

A hundred demonstrators staged a loud, colourful march through Folkestone on Saturday 2nd April against the threatened closure of Pent Valley secondary school. The closure is being driven by Tory-controlled Kent County Council (KCC) and is the latest in a series of school closures across Kent.

Closing Pent Valley would result in higher class sizes in an area that expects to have rising registers over the next few years. It would force students to attend schools like Folkestone Academy, which is not accountable to parents and is already underfunded.

Kent County Council has reserves of 80 million which the trade union-backed Save Pent Valley campaign is calling on the council to use, to keep the school open and to fund education properly. Campaigners expect the elected councillors to do what the community wants: oppose cuts and fight for extra funds.

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo by Pete Fry

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo by Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Significantly, on the same day that a small group of racists had organised a protest against immigration in Dover, Folkestone's Nepalese community joined parents, teachers, students and trade unionists to fight to defend their local school.

The organisation of the march was a classic example of what's possible when unions swing into action. Socialist Party members in Unison and Unite arranged for the printing of thousands of leaflets that parents and students ensured were distributed to Pent Valley and surrounding schools.

Rallying outside the school gates, the big question was, what should our next step be?

Teachers, support staff and students wield the most power. A determined union campaign, which utilises the massive support of the local community and which seeks to give confidence to workers at the school, that resistance is possible, is crucial. One NUT member present at the rally promised she would be taking this demand back to the Folkestone NUT branch.

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo by Pete Fry

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo by Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Students from the school spoke at the rally. Despite the refusal of time off, some attended last month's protest in Maidstone, outside KCC headquarters, during a council meeting. Campaigners spoke at school assemblies and students have been discussing a sit-down protest in the playground of the school to make their opposition known.

A successful ballot for strike action by teachers and support staff, coordinated with a student strike and a further community protest, would apply critical pressure to KCC at a time when its sham consultation is being challenged in court by the Save Pent Valley campaign.

Confidence has already been lifted by the NUT announcing its determination to strike against the government's plan to force all schools to become academies. Now is the time to call for united action at Pent Valley between the three major unions.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 4 April 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

School:

triangleSchools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

triangleCoronavirus and school closures: what needs to be done now

triangleEast London school strikes against academisation continue

triangleHackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

triangleThem & Us

Council:

triangleGoing viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

triangleCouncils must use resources now for emergency response

Students:

triangleSocialist Students speaking tour

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

triangleTory student plot defeated at Cardiff uni

Folkestone:

triangleReadmit expelled socialists: a proven record of fighting back

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Teachers:

triangleCarlisle election meeting: Education - time to make the mega-rich and corporations pay

Kent:

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

NUT:

triangleMoney doesn't make up for cuts - education unions must organise for funding and against Tory attacks

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/4/20

Usdaw

Usdaw - the Activist issue 84

2/4/20

Royal Mail

Collective action becoming necessary to ensure safety and vital deliveries

1/4/20

Bus

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

1/4/20

Children

Fully fund hospices to care for vulnerable children

1/4/20

Coronavirus

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

1/4/20

Socialist Party

Building the Socialist Party

1/4/20

CWU

Postal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Fight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

31/3/20

Northern Ireland

Bosses concede to walkouts in Northern Ireland

31/3/20

Bin workers

Refuse collection workers strike

31/3/20

Hull

Hull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Key workers should make bold demands

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Self-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

31/3/20

Leicester

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

31/3/20

PCS

More than ever, we need accountable union leaders

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999