On Wednesday 11th May, teachers at Shorefields College in the Dingle took strike action in response to plans to turn the college into an academy. Parents and teachers are opposed to the plans, but are not being listened to by the headteacher or board of governors.
The picket line outside the school saw a significant turnout of teachers as well as those such as the Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts and members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation who came to demonstrate support. There was a short march locally and a rally after the initial picket line, and reports are that spirits were high and support from people locally was strong.
Academies first emerged under Labour, and are part of a broader agenda of privatisation. Becoming an academy puts a school outside of the local authority's control and means that complete control of the school's agenda goes to whoever puts up the cash. This leaves the education of the children at the mercy of private whims and has seen the kind of creationist teachings commonplace in America emerge in Britain, amongst other things. It is a move to increasing top-down control, when what we need is a move towards more open and democratic education in the interests of the pupils themselves rather than vested interests.
Liverpool Solidarity Federation extends its full support to the campaign to stop Shorefields becoming an academy. But we also favour a broader fight as ultimately all schools are under threat from plans to corporatise education. An injury to one is an injury to all!
See photos from the picket line here.