Today Education Secretary, Michael Gove, excoriates the Marxist “Enemies of Promise” who penned their letter this week warning of “the dangers posed by Michael Gove’s new National Curriculum, which could severely erode educational standards.” Gove’s counterblast in the Mail on Sunday is witty, accurate and savage.
In Ealing of course we have our very own Enemies of Promise. They are all on the public payroll you won’t be surprised to learn. First off there are the paid union representatives.
The secretary of the NUT branch for the Borough of Ealing is called Nick Grant. Grant calls himself a Marxist and is a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He is a member of the NUT national executive council so he is a big wheel in the union. He doesn’t do any actual teaching. He enjoys a full-time salary, paid for by you and me. Scandalously the union got £15K more last year so that he could take his union role fulltime. He uses his time for activities such as co-founding the Anti Academies Alliance, “convening” the Ealing Alliance for Public Services, writing articles for the The Socialist Worker and organising strikes in Ealing’s schools.
Nick Grant’s assistant secretary at the local NUT branch is called Stefan Sims, who came to national fame for campaigning against army recruitment. He was also the front man of the campaign against Featherstone High School in Southall becoming an academy. Simms is another Socialist Workers Party member.
The total bill that Ealing council pays for Grant, Stefan & Co in union facility time, ie time off on union business, is £160K, up 9% over the last two years and on average £76K per person. Grant is full-time and Simms is part-time.
It is not just the teaching union reps who are on the fringe. The Labour administration, especially the Southall wing of it, is doggedly Old Labour and obstructive to Gove’s agenda of demanding excellence for all. When Featherstone High School in Southall looked at taking the academy route the local MP, Virendra Sharma, and his assistant, Julian Bell, along with all of the 15 Southall Labour MPs tried to strong arm the governing body into voting against academy status. Ridiculously Sharma asked to address the governing bodies decision making meeting. Luckily Southall Old Labour lost the argument and Featherstone is now an academy.
The Enemies of Promise are here in Ealing too, arguing that a little bit rubbish is not so bad, that OK is fine, that great isn’t really worth the trouble.