• Don't leave the Erasmus+ programme!
    Having a Brexit deal agreed may have seemed like an early Christmas present to some when the Government announced on Christmas Eve that an agreement had been reached with the EU, but to any students who were hoping to go on an international mobility as part of their degree it's a kick in the face. Boris Johnson, according to the EU, “decided” that the UK would not be involved in the EU's Erasmus programmes going forward. This, despite the wonderful opportunities it brings for British and European students to experience another culture, learn a language or other valuable new skills and further their career prospects. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-deal-erasmus-eu-university-exchange-b1778667.html Instead, the UK will be setting up a new programme named after Alan Turing. No doubt this will continue to provide similar benefits, most likely within Commonwealth countries and other close international partners such as the USA, but such a programme could take years to fully set up. With the wealth and variety of programmes the Erasmus+ scheme currently offers, this move risks a generation of students missing out on the opportunity to study abroad. It also puts another barrier in the way of talented and highly qualified workers from outside of the UK choosing to come and work and contribute to the British economy after the positive experience that an Erasmus+ placement brings for so many. I spent a year in Murcia, Spain, last year as part of my degree in History and Spanish. It's a cliché, but it was truly the making of me – I matured so much as a person and my Spanish improved enormously. Having the chance to explore the subjects I wanted in a more relaxed context also clarified to me where I wanted to take my studies after getting back to the UK. I honestly don't know where I would be right now without having spent that year in Spain. To think that students in years to come won't have the same opportunity absolutely breaks my heart. Erasmus+ is more than just a study programme, it's a community and it's memories you'll keep for a lifetime. The UK leaving the scheme (which is open to non-EU countries as well, and is expected to be extended further in the new cycle) doesn't just deny others the opportunity I had, but it also means I won't be able to get funding for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree I was hoping to apply for, which would have allowed me to study and gain priceless work experience in three different countries, giving me international and inter-disciplinary insight that I would never be able to access otherwise. The Erasmus scheme also provides extra financial support for students from a disadvantaged background, as well as those with medical needs or disabilities. For the next cycle of the programme, from 2021-2027, the programme budget will be doubled to extend opportunities even further for underprivileged students. For people from a working-class background like myself, these opportunities are now being shut off. This goes beyond spending a fun year with friends in a different country – this is another of the barriers the Conservative government are putting in place to prevent less privileged people having access to the same opportunities as their privately-educated children. The House of Lords produced a report in 2019 expressing concern that a new British scheme would struggle to offer the same benefits as Erasmus+, and has warned that leaving the programme would be a backward step away from the Government's long-term equality targets. The Government's then-Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore, said in the report that the value of the UK's participation in Erasmus+ went beyond money, and reflected experience gained over "30 years' worth of ties." https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldeucom/283/283.pdf Now, it seems, those priorities have changed, due to a budget increase that was intended to help our least privileged young people, all while Boris Johnson has bickered with the EU over the rights of multinational companies to retain access to the EU's big-money markets. Will you sign this petition and challenge the Government to show their intent to build for the future by putting education first?
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    Created by Morgan King Picture
  • Vaccinate staff working in special educational needs settings against COVID-19
    A new strain of COVID-19 has resulted in a surge of cases and the R level increasing at an alarming rate. Hospitals across Kent, London and Essex have declared major incidencies, as they are unable to cope with the current level of demand. The new strain appears to be spread more easily by children than previous strains. This has resulted in the government taking the decision to stagger the return of secondary schools and keep many primary schools in Tier 4 areas closed & they will not re-open after the Christmas holidays. This will be reviewed on January 18th. However, legislation for SEND (Special educational needs and disabilities) settings has been ambiguous throughout this crisis, and the majority of SEND schools will be reopening their doors to pupils from Monday, where all staff (aside from the CEV in the highest tier areas) will be expected to return. The current guidance from the Department of Health and Social care advises priority vaccinations to be given to "frontline health and social care workers at high risk of acquiring infection, at high risk of developing serious disease, or at high risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff". Staff working with pupils in special needs schools also meet the above criteria. They work in environments where it is impossible to maintain social distancing, the use of masks may be very difficult and they are expected to carry out personal care. It will also be very difficult to carry out the mass testing of pupils in these settings, which the government have said is vital as a long term aim to stop the spread of this awful disease. Tragically a recent report from Public Health England, found that people with learning disabilities were 6 times more likely to die from COVID-19, during the first wave of the pandemic. If staff working in these settings were to be vaccinated as a priority, it would mean that not only were they protected, but it would also protect the vulnerable children in their care.
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    Created by Laura Edie
  • Rethink exams in England for our children and young adults
    In summer 2020 we witnessed the government deliver a chaotic (and for many disastrous) plan to deliver grades for students who missed teaching time, and were unable to sit exams, because of the pandemic. Students were let down. This must not happen again. The current government plan for students to sit exams in summer 2021 will be an equal disaster for students who have had just as much - if not more - disruption to their education, and have missed out on more teaching time (whether face to face or virtual) thanks to lockdowns, lack of access to technology or teachers/students having to isolate. Many students are unable to study effectively at home. Also, within school there has been huge pressure on teachers and students to prepare for exams where huge gaps in learning is causing extra pressure and uncertainty. Alongside this the fears over Covid 19 has had untold negative impact on our young people’s mental health. If the exam fiasco of 2020 taught us anything, it is that teacher assessment is the most valuable and fair way of evaluating a students learning and ability. At best, formal exams offer nothing more than a snapshot of students learning. In a year which has seen so much disruption and gaps in teaching, and as a consequence gaps in students learning, it is unfair to set exams where this snapshot of learning and ability will be narrower than ever before. Our children and young adults deserve better. Scotland and Wales have already addressed this fact. It is time the rest of the UK students were given the same consideration. Please help call for our government to abandon exams and find a fairer and more appropriate way to assess students, that reflects their ability in a way that exams cannot.
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    Created by Sharon Redhead
  • Vaccinate ALL teachers against COVID-19
    Teachers and support staff in schools are vital to the continued education of our children but they are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they have to work face to face with students. Vaccination will not only help protect teachers from the virus, it will allow them to teach in person, and ultimately keep schools open to the benefit of the children, their parents and wider society. Unlike for other professions, including GPs, careworkers, hairdressers and shop workers who are required to wear masks or be behind protective screens, the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary in education settings (except in corridors and communal areas) Many colleagues have already been infected with the virus affecting their health AND leaving already overstretched staff to cover whole classes or send classes home. Safeguarding the future of the next generation should start with those who are delivering their education. Please don't scapegoat teachers any more than has already happened and consider vaccinating teachers and other education and childcare workers who have been on the frontline of COVID from the very start.
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    Created by Isobel Monaghan
  • University of Reading RENT STRIKE
    We are requesting a 30% reduction on our annual rent in all halls at the University of Reading, commencing in January. Living in halls facilitates access to the university resources & associated activities, however, unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic almost all aspects of university life have been curtailed to some extent. Despite the reduction in services, access to resources and other activities students are still paying fully for relocation and the cost of halls. The university told students that they would receive 'blended learning' whereby the teaching and content are accessible both online and in person. Many students feel that this 'blended learning' is not truly 'blended' as the majority of many courses remain exclusively online. As most of the teaching is online, it seems pointless to have moved to the university when we could have stayed home and received the same remote teaching as we do whilst unnecessarily living in halls. This is not the university's fault, we are in the midst of an unpredictable global pandemic, however it is the university's responsibility to listen and respond to their students' grievances. A reduction on rent means that the university recognises that living in halls in not benefiting our studies, in the same way we would under normal circumstances. We would like for all students participating in this rent strike to be free from disciplinary action, on the grounds that this strike is peaceful, we simply want to see change and want to work alongside the university to make this possible. Allyship is key, so we are not fighting the university, we are asking to discuss rent and make changes where necessary. Additionally, we would like to discuss changes in regard to the terms of the tenancy agreements. Students studying remotely, away from university, should not have to pay rent for a place they are not living in. Many students returned home for the second lockdown and practiced online learning, yet they were required to pay rent for a place they are not currently living in. Please sign this petition if you plan on striking in January, it is important that as many students as possible sign this because the more students involved, the more likely the university is to negotiate changes with us. Thank you all and let us make change happen together!!
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    Created by Isis Were
  • Keep schools closed after Christmas
    We have gone into Tier 4 in the South East and many parts of the country due to a new strain of covid which is a far more virulent strain. We have seen an exponential rise covid cases and have been told to stay at home, do not travel, do not go out except for emergencies. Except for our children. They are not being protected or safeguarded against this awful virus. We will see far more infection cases and far more unnecessary deaths if schools remain open. We must safeguard our children which in turn will safeguard our elderly and our overly stretched NHS. Greenwich Council, quite rightly,closed schools to safeguard their pupils. Gavin Williamson, knowing that the young were the most susceptible age group to the new strain of covid, threatened the council with legal action if they weren't re-opened. This resulted in a huge rise of 10 to 19 year old children being infected in the South East, mainly London, which in turn has led to an exponential rise in hospital admissions and, yet more unnecessary deaths. Oh and, on a side note, Christmas being cancelled! Australia and New Zealand have eradicated this virus with a lockdown that included all schools closing. Education continue remotely. We could do the same, eradicate the virus whilst still educating our children remotely. Every school in England has the facilities and capability of teaching children remotely, the curriculum can still be followed but at the same time, we could finally ensure we protect our community, our elderly and our NHS. Children MUST be safeguarded, they are being terribly let down. Please safeguard our children, close the schools, let them learn safely, let them learn remotely.
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    Created by Kathryn Bhola
  • Save Our Kids Free Meals in Newham
    The Eat For Free scheme provides a free hot meal during school term time. It brings both educational and health benefits and this has been validated by a study from the University of Essex. A family with two children save around £700 per year using the scheme. Newham has high rates of poverty and deprivation. We have suffered disproportionately during Covid and many of our families have lost their jobs. How can a Labour Council take food from the mouths of its children?
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    Created by Carel Buxton
  • Mandatory Mental Health lessons in schools
    It's important because it affects us all. If not directly then through the people we know and meet along the road to adulthood. As a society we should know how to handle it within ourselves and the people around us. To prevent the worst, to help us understand each other, and to create a society where there is no such thing as mental health "issues"
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    Created by Chloe Ella
  • We Support Teachers
    On 9th December 2020 The Sun newspaper published a Comment piece by Rod Liddle entitled "Covid has made heroes of many of our frontline workers… but not teachers". We, the undersigned, petition The Sun to remove this inflammatory "article" which neither accurately describes how teachers have behaved during the Global Pandemic, nor reflect how parents feel about the education their children have received since March 2020. We also call on The Sun to allow for an opposing Comment piece to be written giving all the grateful parents a chance to show the readership how educating their children in 2020 would not have happened without the support of hard working teachers. 2020 was not an ideal year for anyone - berating an entire profession for doing their best is unacceptable. Teachers are real heroes, and they don't get to hear it enough.
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    Created by Emily Saunderson
  • Keep the scouts in 4th Oxford Scout Hut
    4th Oxford Scout Group has around 100 youth members, the biggest youth group in the area. They are being evicted from their building, putting pressure on leaders hoping to return to face-to-face scouting; on volunteers who would have to help empty the building during a pandemic, and who have been forced to spend countless hours to no avail trying to negotiate rather than spending time and energy on the young people; and on parents and children who may be unable to attend meetings at other locations.
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    Created by Will McEnaney
  • The British Education System
    This is important because the Education System is old and outdated. It teaches you useless things, like algebra, that you should learn in college or university. There is no job based learning and basic life skills.
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    Created by Ellie Talbot
  • Make Education A Right For Everyone.Make University Free.
    Education Is Very Important.Free University Education Will Enable Many To Choose Their Desired Field Of Studies With Much More Better Grafes,Which Will Also Make Them More Effective In Their Desired Career Path,Make Better Choices All Through,Better Work Attitude & Focused Energy Making The Companies Better & Productive Hence Boosting The Economy Of The Country Too.
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    Created by Maboku Bona