Reclaiming Schools was set up to support campaigns for progressive and socially responsible education. Our aim is to make reliable research available to teachers and the wider community.
Education is facing a massive crisis. Since the last General Election we have a fragile government without the will to change direction, and in denial about the state of England’s schools. At the same time, we have new opportunities for popular campaigns to connect with a parliamentary Opposition committed to social justice.
These are some of the areas in which Reclaiming Schools will continue to be engaged through providing reliable evidence. We will use our blog and print publications, as well as working with union activists and campaign groups such as More Than A Score to organise knowledge-building seminars and regional conferences. We look forward to a close collaboration with the new National Education Union.
Massive budget cuts are affecting nearly every school
Classes are getting bigger, subjects being cut, and children being neglected, especially those with additional needs.
Teacher morale is rock bottom
Teachers are leaving in droves, including thousands of dispirited teachers with high levels of experience. Many new teachers are inadequately prepared through fast-track training schemes. Heads in fear of Ofsted are burdening their staff with pointless tasks.
Nearly 1 in 3 children are growing up in poverty
This affects children’s education in many ways, from poor health and housing conditions to the demoralisation of limited employment prospects.
The chances of social mobility are now very limited. Meanwhile, during this period of Austerity, the super-rich have doubled their wealth.
Poor prospects for the young
University students end up with crippling debts, while there are few opportunities for the rest. Many are offered short-term college courses and low-level qualifications, or shuffle between low paid jobs and unemployment.
Test preparation continues to dominate primary education. The Government are attempting to reintroduce Baseline tests for the youngest children, some barely 4 years old. Large numbers of children are starting secondary school carrying failure labels in Reading, Writing or Maths.
A mental health crisis among young people
Our country is almost the worst in Western Europe for young people’s wellbeing, mental health and satisfaction with their lives. This generation are suffering unprecedented stress, exacerbated by the fear of exam failure and an insecure future.
Asset stripping: schools removed from democratic control
Academies and free schools are run with no democratic control. Though many are good schools, the system is out of control. Chief Executives are extracting huge salaries from budgets intended for children. The system leaves local authorities without the funds to support schools.
It is important to challenge the cant of government ministers and Ofsted representatives attempting to deflect the blame for this mess onto teachers. The role of researchers is an essential part of the struggle for education.
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