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Education Crisis

Education Crisis


You may well be aware the NUT has recently launched its ‘Stand Up For Education’ manifesto, designed to help shape the political debate about state education in the run up to the general election and beyond.

You can find a copy here ––9623-_0.pdf

The document is intended to outline some key principles and fundamental concerns, relating to:

  • Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment: ‘A wider vision of learning and achievement’ (p.4)
  • Evaluation, accountability and improvement: ‘More time for teaching, not more tests’ (p.5)
  • The teaching profession including teacher education (p.6 and 14)
  • Social justice: end child poverty (p.7)
  • Providing school places, finance, the education system and democratic governance (pp.10-13)

The campaign has emerged from the NUT’s member mobilisation, over a sustained period of time, in which concerns about pay, pensions and workload connect to a wider set of concerns about the nature and future of state education. The strategy and tactics of this campaign were recently outlined by its Deputy General Secretary Kevin Courtney, and NEC member Gawain Little, in a recent article in Forum for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education (Vol.56 No.2, 2014).

The campaign represents a concerted effort to mobilise professional and public opinion around an agenda that fundamentally challenges the trajectory of current policy, and has the potential to form an on-going campaign to shape policy beyond the election. It is clear that whatever the outcome in May 2015, the campaign for a well-funded, democratic school system based on sound pedagogical principles, not market values, will need to continue. The strategy recognises the need to win the battle of ideas, which will require an alliance of all those concerned for education.

We see this campaign as the best opportunity in a long time to mobilise on a significant scale around an alternative and much more hopeful vision of education.  That is why we believe it is important that progressive intellectual forces, within and beyond the higher education community, need to organise around the broad agenda presented in the ‘Stand Up For Education’ manifesto.

For this reason, we recently met informally with Kevin Courtney and Ian Murch (NUT Treasurer) to discuss how the academic community might best support this initiative. This was followed by a planning meeting in London involving some of the early signatories.

Our intention is not to identify a ‘one size fits all’ approach to involvement, but to develop several different forms of activity that can better fit with people’s circumstances. This could involve, for example:

  • developing a database of ‘research contacts’ for the media etc.
  • identifying relevant research
  • the use of social media
  • the development of regional and local events.

Involvement is not about having to sign up to every dot and comma of the ‘SUFE’ manifesto, and it does not have to be about formally or exclusively identifying with the NUT.  It is about recognising that we need to win the battle of ideas and that this represents one of the best initiatives in a long time for building a movement that connects ideas and activism.  Academics, researchers, teacher educators and wider public intellectuals surely have a key role to play in developing this movement. However, to make a difference, it is important that we organise.

Our aim is to explore how we might best do this.  We very much hope you will join with us. Some well-known individuals have already publicly declared support, including Robin Alexander and Tim Brighouse, and some well-known children’s authors. We have drafted a short statement at the end of this letter, which you may wish to support or alternatively write your own.

Stand Up for Education Manifesto:–9623-_0.pdf

How you can get involved:

Please let us know if you would like to add your name to this statement of support (please reply to or

As lecturers and professors of Education, we wish to express our support for Stand up for education: a manifesto for our children’s education. We urge policy makers to recognise the need for a wider vision of learning and education, which is no longer distorted and undermined by bureaucratic systems of surveillance and artificial target-setting. We call for immediate steps to end the blight of child poverty along with funding for high quality early years education and the restoration of financial support for post-16 students to stay in education.  We agree that the future development of high quality comprehensive education for all depends on a well qualified teaching profession and the principle of local democratic governance.

We will then bring you up to date on current activities, including our new blog and an invitation to prepare a short article or briefing note backing up specific recommendations in the Stand Up For Education document.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Please feel free to forward it to other colleagues who you think might be interested in being involved.

Howard Stevenson  

Terry Wrigley 



‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia:

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate:

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas:

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