Sunday, July 03, 2011

Occasionally we win

As a rule I blog here about trade union work, but - like every trade unionist I am not only a worker but a citizen and, in my case, a parent.

In this capacity I have been pleased to play a modest role in the excellent campaign to defeat plans for Academy status of Varndean School, where my daughter is a student and my mother was "school captain" in the 50s (!)

On Friday, this campaign scored a significant victory for democracy and the defence of public services when the Headteacher and Chair of Governors declared that the school "was not for sale". This appeared to be a complete retreat from the decision taken three months by Governors to "express an interest" in Academy status.

Whilst the authors of this statement could not resist a couple of sly digs at the "unpleasantness" of "political campaigning" against their original expression of interest in Academy status, their statement is otherwise a complete vindication of the campaign waged by parents, students, staff and supporters to defend the school as it is, and to protect state education.

In a year of retreats and defeats, of redundancies and - all too often - despair, it's good to know that, just occasionally and maybe just for a while, we can win. No victory is certain or permanent, but each victory should be celebrated and built upon. I hope that the campaigners who have pushed one school away from considering Academy status (at least for a time) will broaden their efforts to protect state education more generally.

If those who use and rely upon public services stand together with those who provide them we can defend our services and catch a glimpse of how the world might be.

If you face the same challenge start with the website of the Anti-Academy Alliance to learn how to resist.

No comments: