Birmingham Against The Cuts

Save your railway – public meeting, Thursday 24th May, 7pm at the Unite Offices, 211 Broad Street, B15 1AY.

Speakers include:

Bob Crow – General Secretary, RMT
Becca Kirkpatrick – Birmingham Trades Union Council

On top of rocketing energy bills, the government wants us to pay inflation busting rail fare increases of up to 30 per cent, or even more – over the next three years.

At the same time, the government’s policy calls for fewer, more overcrowded rail services, ticket office closures, the axing of tens of thousands of front-line railway staff, the break-up of Network Rail into “mini-railtracks” and reduced safety standards.

But the railway companies are being given the green light to make even bigger profits on top of the astonishing £11 billion of your money that has been drained from the industry since privatisation.

Elsewhere in Europe, railways are cheaper and more efficient because they have…

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As an adult learner and as an administrator involved in 14-19 education I support the aim of lifelong learning, a phrase hackneyed to death by politicians but as yet little more than a phrase. Thanks, Ann, for showcasing again the value to individuals and, by extension, their communities of access via NIACE, the WEA and partner organisations.

Lifelong Learning Matters

England’s Adult Learners’ Week began yesterday with the national awards ceremony in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. Other national and regional ceremonies are taking place across the UK, including one in Stormont in Northern Ireland today.

Yesterday’s event was inspirational, uplifting and moving. It was a privilege to be there.

Short films were shown about individual award winners. Each one was a celebration of people’s resilience and capacity to turn their lives around, often against almost overwhelming odds, when they made the most of adult education opportunities. Winners talked about their experiences of dealing with all sorts of problems such as alcohol and drug dependency, criminal behaviour, abusive relationships, homelessness, disability and difficulties with reading and writing.

Some winners talked about being ‘reborn’ and most wanted to give ‘something back’.  All had the confidence to be interviewed live on stage in a packed auditorium, which is no mean…

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Can’t attend on 28th as it clashes with Ask Parents First. But there will be plenty to be done between then and October if this is to mobilise national ill-feeling against what Lansley and his ilk have done, are continuing to do. 7 October is in my diary.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

The Tories are back in Birmingham for their 2012 conference, and the Midlands TUC have announced they will be holding a demonstration on Sunday 7th October.

Today we are calling for grassroots organisations in and around Birmingham to come together and discuss what we can do over the next 5 months to get as many people from the West Midlands as possible to the demonstration, and what we can do to help pressure the TUC to make this a national demonstration against austerity.

Monday 28th May, 6pm-7pm at Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7NN.

Unemployment is rising, prices are going up, wages staying down and benefits being slashed. We’re back in recession, performing worse than the Eurozone.
The rich are getting richer and benefiting from tax cuts whilst working families see VAT and fuel prices jumping ever upwards.
And the deficit? It’s barely…

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It is good to see local councillors taking onboard the concerns of the electors of their ward. We are aware of the peculiar position of the ousted coalition council toward conversion, disapproving but not prepared to act. Now it remains to be seen exactly what the new Council’s approach will be. It is to the credit of these individual councillors that they are getting involved.

Cruise's Muses

Earlier this week I was approached by my new Labour colleague from Kings Norton Ward Valerie Seabright after she attended a meeting at Colmers Junior School.  Val attended the meeting in her capacity as the Vice Chair of Governors at Colmers Infant School.  The meeting was called as the Junior School has been contacted by the Department of Education recently informing the School of the Department’s intention to force them to Academy status.  This is not the first instance of this happening.

The bullying tactics used by the DofE is nothing short of shameful.  The DofE representatives have threatened the Board of Governors with their removal if they do not agree to proceed to Academy status.  The Local Authority under the previous Tory administration stated they were against forced Academies but did NOTHING.  Michael Gove has said Schools are not being forced and they will be judged on a School by School basis. …

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There are many who believe academisation is inevitable, that those schools which do not embrace it and jump – on the bandwagon – will be pushed, under less favourable terms. Conventional wisdom says conversion can’t be fought – resistance is futile – yet here is a link to a very practical blog by a group who have resisted, successfully, handing on the benefit of their experience.

Ask Parents First

The following  link comes from the successful Hands Off Bournville School Campaign. It is a comprehensive guide to campaigning for meaningful consultation. The HOBS campaign successfully fought voluntary academy conversion at a large and successful secondary school in Birmingham, and while the situation is very different for forced academies, the principles of building a successful campaign are largely the same

Build a Campaign.

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