Monday, 19 December 2016

Notes on the school strikes/ student activism.

1911- school children strikes- one key demand is the end to caning.

1965-, Risinghill comprehensive school, in Islington, north London, was shut down by the local authority, basically because the head teacher and the staff refused to use corporal punishment.

1969-According to an account by Graham Stevenson, in 1969 in Manchester, some two hundred school students went on strike against conditions at Miles Platting School. Of particular concern was the use of the ‘tawse’, a fringed leather strap used to beat students

In London, the Schools Action Union (SAU) was formed in January 1969. As part of a campaign for genuinely comprehensive education, the SAU organised a demonstration in June 1969 to Dulwich College, a selective school in South London, to test the openness of its ‘Open Day’. It also called a strike for the last day of the Christmas term in 1969. The SAU claimed 500 members in late 1970, mostly in London.

 In May 1972 there was a strike of some eight thousand school students against the use of the cane.

On March 1973, sixth formers at King Edward’s High School for Girls in Birmingham, boycotted lessons and picketed outside their school in support of a campaign for higher student grants.
In one Manchester school in 1972, four hundred school students a massed in the playground to protest against the head teacher’s action in suspending a pupil for NUSS activities. A delegation was sent to the head teacher and threatened with expulsion. After a meeting was held with the Local Education Authority, the victimised NUSS member was re-instated

The Educational Institute of Scotland, the largest teachers’ union in Scotland, supported NUSS, but both the NUT and the NASUWT opposed it. Although the Young Communist League played a big role in NUSS, and the Communist Party officially supported it, the CP’s best-known teacher activist, Max Morris, was extremely and publicly hostile to it. He vigorously suppressed the NUSS in the school where he was head teacher.

In autumn 1973, NUSS launched a high profile campaign against corporal punishment, with the support of some thirty MPs, and forced a vote in Parliament (which went against reform).

In 1977, pupils at East London’s Wanstead High, encouraged by a students occupation at Loughton College, voted in a mass meeting by 190 to 70 votes to occupy part of the school in protest at education cuts.

The campaign against beating was carried in those years by the Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment. STOPP had been founded in 1968, around the same time as the school students’ movement, but had the greater durability of an adult-based organisation. It eventually won. It probably would not have had the impetus to do that without the student activism of the 1970s.
• Most of the information in this article on SAU and NUSS from:
Corporal punishment in schools was not finally abolished in England until 1989 (and in private schools not until 1999)
he Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment (STOPP) was set up in the U.K. in 1968 to campaign for the abolition of corporal punishment in UK schools.[10]
STOPP was a very small pressure group that lobbied government, local authorities and other official institutions. It also investigated individual cases of corporal punishment and aided families wishing to pursue their cases through the UK and European courts.[11]
The UK Parliament abolished corporal punishment in state schools in 1986.[12] STOPP then wound itself up and ceased to exist, though some of the same individuals went on to form EPOCH to campaign to outlaw spanking, and spanking in the domestic setting.
A campaign by the name of Children Are Unbeatable! involves more than 350 separate groups, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to ChildrenBarnardo'sSave the ChildrenAction for Children (formerly NCH), and the National Children's Bureau.
It was banned in state funded schools, throughout the United Kingdom, in 1986. It was banned in UK Public and private schools, that received no state funding, in 1999 for England and Wales, 2000 in Scotland, and 2003 in Northern Ireland.

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