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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 



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Precarious Education

Precarious Education


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FORUM: for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education
Volume 55 Number 3, 2013, ISSN 0963-8253



Clyde Chitty. Editorial OPEN ACCESS

Clyde Chitty. Secondary School Examinations: a historical perspective

Martin Allen. ‘Raising Standards’ or Reducing Aspirations and Opportunities Still Further? Michael Gove and Examination Reforms

Tony Cooper. You May Start Writing Now

Patrick Yarker. Gove’s War

Bernard Barker. The Enigmatic Mr Gove

Derek Gillard. Turning in Their Graves? A Tale of Two Coalitions – and What Happened in Between

David Kitchener. What Price Free Schools? The Continued Insidious Privatisation of UK State Education.

Howard Stevenson. Teachers on Strike: a struggle for the future of teaching?

Jess Edwards. Fighting Gove’s Nightmare Vision for Primary Education: A Charter for Primary Education

John Wadsworth. Like an ‘Uncontrolled Toddler’ Elizabeth Truss Risks Causing Chaos in England’s Nursery Education and Child Care Sector

Clare Kelly & Maggie Pitfield. School Direct: a hastily constructed model or a systematically designed campaign?

Michael Fielding. Still ‘Learning to Be Human’: the radical educational legacy of John MacMurray

Gary McCulloch. The Cause of Nowadays and the End of History? School History and the Centenary of the First World War

Philip Huckin. Memories of The CherwellSchool

Tom Buzzard. I Do Not Believe in ‘Intelligence’ or ‘Ability’ or ‘Aptitude’- and Neither Should You

Fiona Carnie. Developing Relationships between Parents and Schools

John Black. ‘Varmits and Turnips’: personal experiences of a secondary modern education, 1958-1962

An Aims-based Curriculum: the significance of human flourishing for schools (Michael J. Reiss & John White), reviewed by Mary Jane Drummond
New Labour and Secondary Education, 1994-2010 (Clyde Chitty), reviewed by Derek Gillard
New Labour and Secondary Education, 1994-2010 (Clyde Chitty), reviewed by Roy Lowe
Modernity Britain: opening the box, 1957-1959 (David Kynaston), reviewed by Clyde Chitty

Access to the full texts of articles is restricted to those who have a Personal subscription, or those whose institution has a Library subscription.

PERSONAL SUBSCRIPTION Subscription to the three printed 2013 issues (including online access to ALL back issues, from Volume 1, 1958 to the present day) is available to private individuals at a cost of US$70.00 (approximately £45.00). If you wish to subscribe you may do so immediately at

LIBRARY SUBSCRIPTION (campus-wide access) If you are working within an institution that maintains a library, please urge your Librarian to take out a Library subscription so we can provide full access throughout your institution.

For all editorial matters, including articles offered for publication, please contact the Editor, Professor Clyde Chitty, 19 Beaconsfield Road, Bickley, BromleyBR1 2BL, United Kingdom (

In the event of problems concerning a subscription, or difficulty in gaining access to the journal articles on the website, please contact the publishers at

Michael Gove

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Gigi Roggero

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Conference 2012

Doing and Undoing Academic Labour

June 7, 2012
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Learning Landscapes (MB1019)
University of Lincoln


In recent decades, a wealth of information has been produced about academic labour: the financialisation of knowledge, diminution of professional autonomy and collegiality through managerialism and audit cultures; the subsumption of higher education into circulations of capital, proletarianisation of intellectual work, shift from dreams of enlightenment and emancipation to imperatives of ‘employability’, and experiences of alienation and anger amongst educators across the world.

This has also been a period of intensifying awareness about the significance of these processes, not only for teachers and students in universities, but for all labour and intellectual, social and political life as well. And now we watch the growth of a transnational movements that is inventing new ways of knowing and producing knowledge, new forms of education, and new possibilities for pedagogy to play a progressive role in struggles for alterantives within the academy and beyond.

Yet within the academy, the proliferation of critical work on these issues is not always accompanied by qualitative changes in everyday practice. The conditions of academic labour for many in the UK are indeed becoming more precarious and repressive – and in unequal measure across institutions and disciplines, and in patterns that retrench existing inequalities of gender, physical ability, class, race and sexuality. The critical analysis of academic labour promises much, but often remains disconnected from the ways we work in practice with others.

This conference brings together scholars and activists from a range of disciplines to discuss these problems, and to consider how critical knowledge about new forms of academic labour can be linked to struggles to humanise labour and knowledge production within and beyond the university.


Contributions from:

Mette Louise Berg

Rob Coley

Anna Curcio

Richard Hall

Maria Do Mar Pereira

Dean Lockwood

Andrew McGettigan

Justine Mercer

Sara Motta

Adam O’Meara

Gigi Roggero 

Howard Stevenson


Public / Free / Open

This conference is public, free and open to everyone. Please register so we know how many people will be attending. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Dr. Sarah Amsler at

Getting here

Doing and Undoing Academic Labour will be held in Learning Landscapes,  MB1019, the University of Lincoln. Click here for a map of the site.


Link to Conference:



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Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions


Call for Papers


Special Issue for Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor



The neo-liberal restructuring of national education systems is a global phenomenon and represents a major threat to the possibility of a democratic, public education committed to meeting the needs of working class and oppressed groups.  Teacher unions, across the world, despite all the attacks on them, represent perhaps the most formidable obstacle to neo-liberal restructuring.  Teachers remain highly unionized and although they have suffered many setbacks in recent years, their collective organizations generally remain robust.


Despite the significance and importance of teacher unions they remain largely under-researched.  Mainstream academic literature on school sector education policy often ignores teacher unions, even in cases where scholars are critical of the market orientation of neo-liberal reforms.  Two recent exceptions to this tradition are the contributions of Compton and Weiner (2008) and Stevenson et al (2007).  The strength of Compton and Weiner’s excellent volume is the breadth of international perspectives. However, individual chapters are largely short ‘vignettes’, and the aim is to offer fairly brief and readable accounts, rather than detailed and scholarly analysis.  Stevenson et al offer a series of traditional scholarly articles, although the emphasis is largely on the Anglophone nations (UK, North America, Australasia) , and the collection fails to capture the full breadth required of an international perspective.  In both cases, and quite understandably, these contributions were not able to take account of the seismic developments in the world capitalist economy since Autumn 08 in particular. These developments have significant implications for the future of neo-liberalism, for the development of education policy in nation states and for the policies and practices of teacher unions. There is now a strong case for an analysis of teacher unionism that is detailed, scholarly, international and able to take account of current developments.


This special section of Workplace will focus on the ways in which teacher unions in the K-12 sector are challenging the neo-liberal restructuring of school education systems in a range of global contexts.  Neo-liberalism’ s reach is global. Its impact on the restructuring of public education systems shares many common characteristics wherever it manifests itself.  That said, it also plays out differently in different national and local contexts.  This collection of papers will seek to assess how teacher unions are challenging the trajectory of neo-liberal reform in a number of different national contexts.  By drawing on contributors from all the major world continents it will seek to highlight the points of contact and departure in the apparently different ways in which teacher unions interface with the neo-liberal agenda. It will also ensure that analyses seek to reflect recent developments in the global capitalist economy, and the extent to which this represents threat or opportunity for organized teacher movements.


Compton, M. and Weiner, L. (2008) The Global Assault on Teachers, Teaching and their Unions, London: Palgrave.


Stevenson, H. et al (2007) Changes in Teachers’ Work and the Challengs Facing Teacher Unions. International Electronic Journal of Leadership for Learning. Volume 11. http://www.ucalgary .ca/~iejll/



Contributions to Workplace should be 4000-6000 words in length and should conform to MLA style.  If you are interested, please submit an abstract via Word attachment to Howard Stevenson (hstevenson@lincoln. by 31st July 2009. Completed articles will be due via email on 28th December 2009.  All papers will be blind peer-reviewed.



E. Wayne Ross


wayne.ross@mac. com



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