by Stroud Against The Cuts member Chris Moore
"Education Minister Michael Gove recently tried to justify the role of the British military command in the First World War slaughter, accusing ‘left wing academics’ of using Blackadder to distort the teaching of the First World War. So on reflection he may regret his decision to visit Marling School whose former pupil Tim McInnerny, played the part of one of the characters, Captain Darling.
Hundreds of current Stroud students, mainly from Marling and High School, were waiting for one of the most despised members of the coalition cabinet. Gormless Gove was chased for over an hour round Marling, a grammar school that has recently benefitted from a £3.7 million refurbishment. ‘Education shouldn’t be elitist, it should be for everyone, that’s why I’m protesting:’ said Janneke Bax-Pratt. Gove was left cowering in a classroom along with Stroud Tory MP Michael Carmichael, while students circled the building chanting ‘Gove out.’
A handful of teachers tried to hold back students from getting too close to Gove, but were brushed aside by a wave of young people determined to make their anger heard. Other teachers clapped or smiled as Gove was hounded. Several were sympathetic to the suggestion of building support with students for their next industrial action against attacks on pay and conditions. Janneke spoke for many when she said, ‘Gove is pathetic and cowardly; he should have the guts to come out and speak to ordinary students. I’d like to know if he’s making visits to any comprehensives in the area.’ Will, a Sixth former at Marling School added: ‘why doesn’t Gove take a cut out of his own salary instead of cutting education and our future.’
The coalition government is continuing the dismantling of comprehensive education and replacing it with a tiered elitist system based on ever more testing. Education will be increasingly about teaching students to regurgitate facts for exams. Those in power see no point in spending resources on a decent education for all young people, because there will not be enough decent jobs needing highly qualified people. Free Schools and Academies are a way of taking schools out of local authority control and for the private sector to further get their claws into the education system. Teachers face attacks on pay through divisive performance related pay and a squeeze on pensions, while workloads and stress increase. Further strike action this year by teachers could get wide support from students and could be part of coordinated industrial action, building to a 24 hour general strike."
See the original SATC call for a protest, with links to local press coverage and information on why the protests was called by clicking here.