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March for the Future of Horsforth School

Over the past couple of months Horsforth Against the Cuts, a local campaign group linked to Leeds Against the Cuts, has been campaigning against plans to turn Horsforth School into an academy, holding a very succesful meeting to discuss the issue in july.

Lesley Connors, parent of a pupil at Horsforth School

The Socialist Party oppose the academies scheme as it is the government’s underhand way of privatising the education system. The academies bill sets out to destroy the state education system and allow private companies to undemocratically run schools, with profit making rather than education becoming their primary concern. Within the climate of the government’s savage cuts to public services, schools are being bribed to become academies with the promise of extra funding. This funding is only guaranteed for a year and effectively takes money away from other schools, often those who are not performing as well or are in socially deprived areas. In addition to being grossly unfair this will create a two tier system within the education system.

The Socialist Party has considered its involvement in the Horsforth School campaign to be especially relevant as the decision for the school to become an academy was made undemocratically. The school held a meeting at which only four parents attended, yet they are able to claim that this is effective consultation.

Although Horsforth Against the Cuts are opposed to the school’s move to academy status, the immediate aim of the current campaign is to ensure that the school holds a proper consultation event including current and future parents and the wider community. The decision on whether the school becomes an academy should then be made by means of a democratic ballot, rather than lie in the hands of a small number of governors. The Socialist Party have been supporting the campaign by being active members of the group; leafleting, manning stalls and collecting petition signatures. Campaign work has helped ensure that local residents are informed of the school’s plans and are provided with information about how the academy scheme may affect pupils at the school and the education system as a whole.

As the chair of the school’s board of governors has not met the group’s demands for democracy and local councillors have so far failed to help facilitate this, Horsforth Against the Cuts have planned a rally to ensure that concerned local people’s voices are heard. This will be the first march held in the area for decades and is an indication of the strength of local opposition to the school’s plans. The Socialist Party are helping to publicise the event, they will also march alongside local residents and provide speakers to help call for local democracy and make a stand against the creeping privatisation of the education system.

Horsforth Against the Cuts are a community group made up of concerned local residents and activists in the Horsforth area of Leeds to oppose all ConDem cuts targeted on Horsforth and the surrounding areas. The group has held two successful public meetings and collection of 1300 signatures against the government’s Health and Social Care Bill. Local media coverage of the group’s activities has also helped promote awareness of the government’s unjust and unjustified targeting of the public sector to pay for the mistakes of the bankers and has helped spread the anti cuts message among the wider community. Hopefully these successes can be repeated again and we can stop the academisation of Horsforth School.

Join the demonstration!

Saturday 17th September
Assemble 11.30am, outside Bar 166 on Town Street, Horsforth
For more info contact Andy from Horsforth Against the Cuts on 07714272066