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Together for Education

After three years of successful struggles, NEU national campaign manager HENRY FOWLER heralds the launch of a new, united campaign for our schools

TODAY, 16 campaigning groups, trade unions and associations will come together for the largest education campaign event of the year.

Together for Education will unite parents, governors, head teachers, councillors, support staff and teachers for a day of campaign planning and workshops.

Today’s event will reflect on the last three incredible years of campaigning against cuts and look to the future.

The last year alone has seen school governors lobby Parliament, 2,000 head teachers march on Downing Street and over 1,000 councillors sign a National Education Union (NEU) letter to Damian Hinds demanding an increase in school funding.

The recent Conservative leader candidates’ pledges on education funding show that our social movement has successfully kept the issue at the top of the political agenda.

In recent months, we have seen the emergence of SEND National Crisis, a grassroots parental group demanding a better deal for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Over the last few weeks, the school cuts campaign has focused on the fight to save nurseries. The cuts to maintained nursery schools, vital in improving the outcomes of young people, will lead to mass closures by 2020 if more funding is not put in. This campaign includes a petition to government to provide these funds and ensure long-term survival of this vital part of the education sector.

At our rally today, we will be bringing together these various stands and launching our next steps. This will include a vital pivot from campaigning against cuts to fighting for the funding education needs. This funding formula will be the focus of campaign energies around the delayed spending review and the autumn budget.

Alongside a workshop about how we win this new figure in our communities and at Westminster, delegates will hear from speakers across the movement and political spectrum. These include Jeremy Corbyn MP, James McInnes, chair of the f40 group of local authorities, NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney and Lib Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran MP. This wide range of political support highlights the importance of this issue to the future of our country.

The event will culminate with attendees assembling in Parliament Square to take part in a live public stunt. Delegates will assemble a “garden of cuts,” standing behind yard sale signs of their local authority area, showing the total loss of funding to schools in their area.

We hope attendees will enjoy reflecting on our victories so far — £1.3 billion for schools in 2017, £350 million for SEND in 2018 and £509 million towards schools budgets to afford government sanctioned staff pay rises in 2018.

But we still have a fight on our hands to get the fully funded service our children need and deserve. Today, we are Together for Education.

Together for education is supported by Action for Education, Association of Colleges, ASCL, F40, GMB, National Association of Head Teachers, National Education Union, NEU Councillors Network, National Governance Association, Save our Schools, School Cuts, SEND National Crisis, Sixth Form Colleges Association, Socialist Education Association, UCU, Unison.

Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Kevin Courtney (NEU), Layla Moran MP, Sadiq Khan Vix Lowthion (Green Party education spokesperson) Cllr James McInnes (F40), Dr Jo Grady (UCU), Emma Knights (NGA), Emma Parker (NEU) Paul Whiteman (NAHT), Geoff Barton (ASCL), Poppy Rose (SEND National Crisis), Jean Evanson (NEU) and Kay Tart (Action for Education).

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