Like most people who feel galvanised by Jeremy, it was his personality that drew me to him and compelled me to listen to him. And when I did, his ideas made so much sense that there was clearly no going back to the manfacured politicians before him. Like everyone, my opinion is subjective because of my background and experiences. However, Jeremy has allowed me to see the things I have in common with others, and the importance of sharing these. So, I will share my subjective reasons as a teacher for backing Jeremy, hoping that you can see how they apply to your subjective position too.
Until two weeks ago, I worked as a teacher. I remember the coalition government scrapping Labour’s ‘Every Child Matters’ scheme as I was doing my teacher training. How could any government scrap a scheme with such a name? The Liberal Democrats and The Conservatives sent a clear message that every child did not in fact matter. Jeremy is promising to protect our schools’ funding.
As I began my teaching career, I was not put off by the challenging teenagers, but the system that was holding them back. Up to 35 pupils per class and underpaid teachers, many of whom had turned to teaching as a last resort following the economic crash. Most teachers were not local, were stretched for time and failed to create good rapport with the kids. They couldn’t understand their specific needs because Tory education policy was content-focused and not pupil-focused. It was all about how much can we cram into the curriculum instead of how we can make sure pupils reach their full potentials.
Many students I met assumed they couldn’t go to university because their parents had no money, so they saw no point in trying their best. They didn’t even know about student loans, grants, etc. This was so different to when I was a teenager during Labour’s ‘Aim Higher’ scheme, where we were constantly told that anyone who wanted to go to university, could.
Now, the cuts to Education are even more severe as we are further squeezed by Tory austerity. Many schools are being forced into academisation, which I think is heading towards privatisation. Schools are losing teachers and support staff. It is no longer just a matter of stretched materials, but stretched humans. The situation is heading in the same direction as the NHS.
And Theresa May’s personal project of bringing back grammar schools is disgusting. When properly funded, comprehensive schools are perfectly capable of streaming kids into ability groups in subjects where it is needed, like Maths and English for example. We do not need to separate our brightest kids into these Victorian style schools where they will not get to interact with their “less academic” peers, where they learn snobbery and apathy towards those less fortunate than themselves. Apart from a few naturally academically able students, the rest of grammar school places are taken up by richer students whose parents opt to pay for a few years of private tuition in preparation for 11+ tests, instead of forking out for private school fees. Where’s the justice in that?
Jeremy recognises the value of actual educators’ knowledge and experience and has listened to them. He also knows that if we want more British people working in our NHS then we have to go back to funding our nurses’ studies and paying them a fair wage so they don’t rely on food banks. But Jeremy is going even beyond that: he is offering free higher education for all, including those starting this year. Finally, we have a leader making the most important investment in our future.