Education in Britain

UK: Office for Students spearheads privatisation and policing of universities

By Thomas Scripps, 20 January 2018

Accompanied by lifting the cap on tuition fees and selling off of student debt to private holders, the Office for Students is set to complete the basic framework for the wholesale privatisation of higher education.

UK report singles out schools with “high levels of disadvantage” for attack

By Tania Kent, 21 December 2017

Schools nationally will see a funding cut of 1.5 to 3 percent this year.

UK school funding crisis worsens

By Tom Pearce, 14 October 2017

Due to budget cuts, schools have asked for donations from businesses to provide basic necessities, resulting in further reliance on the private sector.

London schools with flammable cladding deemed “safe”

By Tom Pearce, 28 July 2017

Despite the widespread use of flammable cladding in schools, only three schools have so far been tested.

Part 2: The reactionary origins of the incoming National Union of Students executive

By Stephen Alexander, 27 June 2017

The following is the second of a two-part series on the political issues behind the election of Labour’s Shakira Martin as NUS president.

UK National Union of Teachers sabotages struggle against funding cuts

By Tom Pearce, 16 May 2017

While the NUT continues to oppose action, other education unions, including the NASUWT, are equally concerned about preventing strikes.

Striking college lecturers protest outside of Scottish parliament

By Stephen Alexander, 29 April 2017

Despite almost a decade of swingeing education cuts, the EIS resisted any national action up until last year, when a few one-day stoppages took place.

Britain’s pseudo-left promotes Kurdish YPG militia volunteer Brace Belden as University of Glasgow Rector

By Stephen Alexander, 5 April 2017

The Kurdish YPG militias function as a proxy force of the imperialist powers in the brutal US-instigated war for regime change in Syria.

UK teaching assistants march in Durham to oppose pay cuts and attacks on conditions

By Liz Smith, 30 March 2017

Labour Party-led Durham council propose to fire and then rehire teaching assistants on a contract that will result in a 23 percent pay cut.

Protests underway in UK against school education funding cuts

By John Vassilopoulos, 29 March 2017

In the inner London borough of Lambeth, £25 million is to be slashed from school funding by 2020. For some schools this means up to 25 percent in cuts to their budget.

UK budget steps up attacks on education

By Tom Pearce, 21 March 2017

On budget day, Conservative Education Secretary Justine Greening was heckled by head teachers as she spoke at an Association of School and College Leaders meeting.

Top British state schools exclude working-class children

By Alice Summers, 16 March 2017

Studies show that social class is the defining factor in a child’s educational achievement.

Unions in UK oppose struggle against massive school spending cuts

By Tom Pearce, 1 March 2017

In the southern English county of Hampshire, 1,700 teachers’ jobs could go by 2019-20 as part of a £62 million package of government cuts.

The racialist agenda of the “Decolonise Education” movement

By Joe Mount, 24 February 2017

The classification of philosophers based on their skin colour, rather than their place in the historical development of human thought, is combined with an attack on the entire progressive tradition of the Enlightenment.

UK schools decimated by funding cuts

By Tom Pearce, 15 February 2017

Seventy-one percent of school head teachers polled were able to balance their budgets only by making cuts or dipping into reserves.

New legislation gives private sector further access to higher education in Britain

By Alice Summers and Thomas Scripps, 26 January 2017

Student “choice” is in fact a euphemism for the introduction of measures designed to lower the requirements that educational institutions must satisfy in order to attain university status.

Funding cuts across almost all UK schools

By Tom Pearce, 22 December 2016

According to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, government spending proposals for schools will mean that “around 90 percent of schools" would see funding cuts.

UK students and lecturers protest education cuts

By a reporting team, 21 November 2016

Young people brought their own homemade banners such as “No fees, no cuts, no debt”, “Drop Fees, Not Bombs” and “Education, not Deportation.”

UK: Durham teaching assistants vote to strike

By Tania Kent, 26 October 2016

The cuts to education budgets mean thousands of teaching assistants losing their jobs or facing a major reduction in their hours.

UK education funding cuts bring schools to breaking point

By Tom Pearce, 19 October 2016

An Institute for Fiscal Studies report notes that school spending per pupil is likely to fall by around 8 percent in real terms by 2020.

Military units established in UK state schools

By Liz Smith, 13 October 2016

The UK is the only European Union country to permit 16-year-olds to join the armed forces and start military training.

UK government pledge to expand grammar schools signals escalation of selective education

By Robert Stevens, 13 September 2016

The attack on comprehensive education has been proceeding apace, with the majority of secondary schools now academies and free schools.

UK law firm boasts blocking support to disadvantaged children

By Benjamin Trent and Paul Mitchell, 4 August 2016

More than 1.3 million schoolchildren in England—15 percent of the total—have been identified as needing special educational needs and disabilities support.

UK: Children referred for “deradicalisation” under “anti-terrorist” strategy

By Tom Pearce, 15 July 2016

Since the start of the 2015 academic year, increasing numbers of youth have been questioned over their religion, political affiliation and actions.

UK teachers hold one-day strike against education bill

By Tania Kent, 5 July 2016

The strike by National Union of Teachers members takes place amid the drive for the complete privatisation of state education.

Debt soars for students in England

By Thomas Scripps, 14 June 2016

With interest, the average graduate will pay back an additional £3,000 more than they were expecting, with the burden falling more heavily on the poor.

UK university lecturers strike against pay cuts and casualisation

By our reporters, 28 May 2016

University staff have seen their pay fall in real terms by 14.5 percent since 2009.

UK White Paper escalates privatisation of higher education

By Joe Mount, 28 May 2016

The proposals remove any remaining barriers to profit making and facilitate the establishment of private universities.

Unsafe Edinburgh schools expose scandal of privatisation

By Steve James, 30 April 2016

Sixteen Edinburgh schools remain closed after the private consortium that built and managed the properties was unable to guarantee the safety of the buildings.

UK White Paper paves way for the destruction of public education

By Tania Kent, 11 April 2016

The Conservative Cameron government is demanding that all schools are converted into academies, which are state funded but privately run, by 2022.

Cuts lead to closure of hundreds of public libraries across UK

By Alice Summers, 2 April 2016

Since 2010, about a quarter of library workers have lost their jobs.

UK teacher shortages on the rise

By Tom Pearce, 19 March 2016

The failure of the UK government to achieve its target for teacher recruitment is symptomatic of the crisis arising from dictatorial conditions and extreme governmental pressure.

Strike at 200 Further Education colleges in England

By Margot Miller, 27 February 2016

Some Further Education staff have suffered a reduction in pay by as much as 17 percent after years on lower than inflation pay rises.

UK schools privatisation programme continues despite failures

By Tom Pearce, 24 February 2016

The Academy programme privatisation scheme has led to a substandard level of education for children and large chains controlling schools across wide geographical areas.

Cuts lead to staffing crisis in UK education

By Tom Pearce, 16 January 2016

Schools are paying recruitment agencies ever greater sums for finders fees.

Student accommodation costs rocket in UK

By Thomas Scripps, 6 January 2016

Investors are responding to the profits available due to the increased enrolment of foreign students in British universities and the expansion of privately rented halls.

UK Tories step up attacks on school education

By Tom Pearce, 5 January 2016

The cuts in education are part of the government’s austerity agenda aimed at saving more than £20 billion in public finances.

Open University staff in Britain protest regional centre closures

By Joyce Smith, 4 December 2015

The OU is the largest academic institution in the UK and Europe by student number.

UK students protest education cuts

By Ben Trent, 12 November 2015

Since the introduction of tuition fees under Tony Blair, the cost of education in the UK has soared.

UK teachers leave profession in record numbers

By Tania Kent, 7 August 2015

Applications for teaching jobs have declined by 27,000 in the last 12 months.

UK: Poorest children lag behind on language skills

By Tom Pearse and Sascha Woods, 11 July 2015

A fifth of children in England leave primary school unable to read well, including over a third of the poorest children.

250,000 demonstrate against austerity in London

By our reporters, 22 June 2015

The mass demonstration is a reflection of widespread opposition to the Conservative government’s plans to ramp up austerity, following decades of cuts under both Tory and Labour Party governments.

Report reveals poor performance by UK academies and free schools

By Tania Kent, 31 December 2014

New figures expose the fact that the UK government’s drive to privatise schools is having a devastating impact on the education of children.

Further militarisation of UK schools

By Joe Mount, 29 December 2014

The British elite responded to the 2011 inner-city youth riots by demanding the militarisation of the education system.

UK: Police use tear gas to repress student sit-in at Warwick University

By Joe Mount, 8 December 2014

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, police brutality against young people has become ever more ferocious.

Business leader selected as new chair of UK schools inspectorate

By Tania Kent, 7 August 2014

New UK schools inspectorate head David Hoare specialises in taking over failing enterprises, sacking workers, imposing cuts and restructuring work practices.

British university system faces collapse

By Joe Mount, 29 July 2014

Britain’s universities increasingly rely on private philanthropists for their funding.

UK schools required to actively promote “British values”

By Thomas Scripps, 19 July 2014

Behind all the talk of democratic values, the British bourgeoisie—like its counterparts the world over—are developing more and more repressive measures to police working people.

UK public sector workers explain their decision to strike

By our reporters, 14 July 2014

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to workers in a number of town and cities in England who participated in last Thursday’s national public sector strike and protests.

UK National Union of Teachers stage one-day strike

By Margo Miller, 29 March 2014

The strike forced 3,000 schools—12 percent of the total number of schools—to shut their doors completely.

Nationwide strike by UK teachers

By our reporters, 28 March 2014

Teachers held marches and rallies across the UK during their 24-hour strike Wednesday.

Top British universities exclude poorer students

By Thomas Scripps, 14 March 2014

Just one in a hundred children who receives free school meals, receives a place at either of the top two British universities, Oxford and Cambridge.

Students sue British government over ban on loans and grants

By Joan Smith and Paul Mitchell, 11 March 2014

Romanian and Bulgarian students are taking the British government to court over its decision to end financial support while they study in the UK.

British government cuts funding for poorest university students

By Ben Trent, 7 March 2014

University application figures in 2013 dropped to their lowest since 2009, with research highlighting the trebling of tuition fees to £9,000 as the main cause.

UK teachers union refuses to back one-day strike

By Margot Miller, 21 February 2014

The aim of the NUT in calling for a day’s strike is not to fight for the interests of its members but to secure a place at the negotiating table.

British government attempts to stamp out student protests

By Zach Reed, 14 February 2014

Students protesting against the attacks on education have been met with police assaults, arrests and suspension.

National schools inspectorate to be overhauled by UK government

By Jo March, 14 February 2014

A brutal inspection regime has been used by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition to force schools to become academies as a step towards privatisation.

Rich lap up the cream of Britain’s top state schools

By Thomas Scripps, 8 February 2014

The richest in the UK are able to pick and choose the 30 best state schools to educate their children.

Britain: Labour’s plan for licences another attempt to vilify teachers

By Margot Miller, 23 January 2014

Under the Labour Party’s new proposals, regular re-licensing will make it easier to sack teachers.

Administrators demand additional fee hikes in British universities

By Joe Mount, 7 November 2013

The Universities UK organisation, representing vice-chancellors, is calling for a hike in tuition fees beyond the current £9,000 level.

UK teaching unions call off strike action

By Tania Kent, 5 November 2013

The calling off of a national teachers’ strike exposes the role of Britain’s pseudo-left groups, who have provided a crucial cover for the trade union bureaucracy.

UK lecturers and academic staff stage one-day national strike

By Robert Stevens, 2 November 2013

Rallies were held in major cities throughout England and Scotland.

Top British educational advisor insists achievement is genetically determined

By Jo March, 31 October 2013

Pseudo-science is being promoted by the government to assert that working class children are genetically incapable of learning at a high level.

Third regional teachers’ strike in UK

By our correspondents, 19 October 2013

The end game of the coalition government’s assault on education is forcing schools to become self-governing academies as a step towards the privatisation of education.

UK teachers: “Something needs to change in the way we oppose the government”

By our reporters, 19 October 2013

One teacher told the WSWS, “The government wants to impose longer hours for less pay.”

UK teachers in regional strikes as unions seek accommodation with government

By Tania Kent, 4 October 2013

Teachers across several English regions struck this week in the latest action to protest government attacks on their pay, conditions and pension rights.

UK regional teachers strike provides no answers

By a Cambridgeshire teacher, 4 October 2013

The teachers unions’ rally in Cambridge during Tuesday’s regional strike demonstrated the role of the unions and their pseudo-left supporters in preventing a united mobilisation of teachers against the attacks of the Conservative/Liberal coalition.

UK teaching unions announce limited strike action

By Tania Kent, 23 September 2013

Concerned that opposition will develop outside of their control, the UK’s teaching unions are organizing a token show of resistance as the coalition government presses ahead with yet another round of attacks on education.

New testing regime to be imposed on British schoolchildren

By Tania Kent, 30 July 2013

The plan outlined by the British government is aimed at imposing a selective class-based education system.

UK teachers unions accept performance-related pay

By Margot Miller, 5 July 2013

The claim of the two largest UK teachers unions to be waging a struggle against the government attacks on education, is belied in their full acceptance of the principle of performance-related pay.

British government planning privatisation of student loan debt

By Jordan Shilton, 3 July 2013

A secret internal government report has revealed the plans of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition to sell student loan debt to private investors.

Massive cuts at universities in the UK

By Joe Mount, 2 July 2013

Universities throughout the UK are using new employment laws to worsen the conditions of nearly 3,000 staff and impose large-scale cuts.

Teaching unions stage token one-day strike in North West of England

By Jo March, 27 June 2013

The two largest teachers’ unions in the UK are beginning a series of regional rolling strikes.

Right of international students to study in UK under attack

By Joe Mount, 15 June 2013

International students attempting to study in the UK are being deterred by punitive restrictions.

Top UK universities call for cuts to funding for poorer students

By Joan Smith and Paul Mitchell, 30 May 2013

According to the Times, vice-chancellors at Britain’s Russell group of 24 top research universities are “privately urging” government ministers to cut funding used to support poorer students.

UK teaching unions stage token protest in North West

By Margot Miller, 1 May 2013

The timetable of rolling regional strikes is designed to have as little effect as possible.

National Union of Students complicit in British government attacks on students

By Thomas Scripps, 17 April 2013

The National Union of Students has launched a phoney campaign to “Bring Back” the Educational Maintenance Allowance, after previously sabotaging the opposition to its abolition.

UK: Privatisation agenda causing overcrowded schools and poor-quality education

By Joe Mount, 5 April 2013

The drive towards the privatisation of education in Britain is leading to a dire shortage of school places and poor-quality education provision.

UK teaching unions signal no resistance to cuts

By Jo March, 26 March 2013

Unions announce a timetable of rolling regional strikes, not scheduled to begin for three months.

Oppose the privatisation of education

By International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Britain), 20 March 2013

Public education in Britain is being eliminated and handed over to the private sector.

Britain: Student beaten by police finally found not guilty

By Joan Smith, 16 March 2013

Alfie Meadows, who was brutally beaten by police during the anti-tuition fees protests in 2010, was cleared of violent disorder.

Sussex University students and staff oppose privatisation

By Joe Mount, 2 March 2013

Hundreds of students and staff at the University of Sussex are protesting the outsourcing of non-academic jobs to privately owned companies.

UK Conservatives appoint major donor John Nash as education minister

By Jo March, 18 January 2013

The appointment of venture capitalist John Nash as British education minister hammers another nail in the coffin of public education.

Exposure of sex-for-fees web site underscores UK student poverty

By Aidan Claire and Joe Mount, 15 January 2013

The Independent reports on the existence of a web site offering students up to £15,000 a year to have sex with its clients.

UK government attacks teachers’ pay

By Margot Miller, 5 January 2013

UK teachers face the imposition of performance-based pay.

Privatisation agenda behind government threats against UK teachers

By Julie Hyland, 22 December 2012

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition intends to extend the conditions that exist in academies to all public schools, in preparation for the handing over of education to the private sector.

Government threatens UK teachers with pay cuts as punishment for industrial action

By Julie Hyland, 20 December 2012

By threatening teachers with pay cuts, the government intends to create a precedent that will be used against all public sector workers.

National Union of Students organises token London protest

By Zach Reed, 29 November 2012

Students marched through London on November 21 in protest against the trebling of tuition fees to £9,000 and cuts to education.

Court decision allows some London Metropolitan international students to remain in UK

By Jordan Shilton, 10 October 2012

London Metropolitan University has been granted the right to continue to offer courses to international students who are currently enrolled at the institution, the High Court has ruled.

Sharp fall in number of UK university students

By Zach Reed, 6 September 2012

The number of students applying for admission to universities in the UK has dropped by 8.9 percent compared to last year.

UK ex-left groups cover up collapsing support for education unions

By Tania Kent and Chris Marsden, 23 July 2012

Marches organised July 14 by the NUT and NASUWT in Sheffield and Oxford were billed as a major new initiative in the fight to defend public sector pensions.

London teachers’ union branch denounces betrayal of pensions dispute

By Jo March, 7 April 2012

It was a day that most members of the National Union of Teachers at Edward Wilson primary school never expected to see—the day they voted against strike action.

Trade unions isolate London teachers and lecturers strike

By our reporter, 30 March 2012

On Wednesday, members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and University and College Union (UCU) took 24-hour strike action in London to protest cuts in pension rights.

Cambridge University suspends PhD student for peaceful protest

By Paul Bond, 20 March 2012

Cambridge University has imposed an unprecedented seven-term suspension on a PhD student, Owen Holland, for his part in a peaceful protest last November.

Private companies poised for takeover of UK state education

By Harvey Thompson, 16 February 2012

Education Secretary Michael Gove has given the go-ahead for Breckland Middle School in Suffolk to be run under a £21 million contract by Swedish for-profit firm Internationella Engelska Skolan.

UK government supports plans for military schools

By Liz Smith, 8 February 2012

Respublica, a Conservative Party think tank supported by British Prime Minister David Cameron, has proposed the setting up of military schools within the British school system.

London primary school mounts legal challenge over academy status

By Harvey Thompson, 30 January 2012

Downhills Primary School in Haringey, north London, has launched a legal challenge to Education Secretary Michael Gove’s attempt to force it to become an academy.

London march against Academy status for schools

By Jo March, 30 January 2012

Over 1,000 London parents, children, teachers, and others protested government plans to force three local primaries to become academies.

UK schools threatened with closure or privatisation

By Jo Marsh, 5 December 2011

England’s schools inspectorate, Ofsted, is carrying out trials on the latest of a series of measures designed to pressure schools into either taking on academy status or facing closure.

West Yorkshire, UK parents and teachers march against school privatisation

By Barbara Slaughter, 30 November 2011

More than 200 parents, teachers and residents of Otley, West Yorkshire, marched Saturday to oppose the transformation of their local senior school into a privately run academy.