We have just returned from our summer holiday. It gave me very much needed relaxing and thinking time to evaluate the campaign.
On one of our day trips we took our four children to a fun fair. We have a very gutsy five year old, who goes on rides that I would never dream of going on! Knowing how brave she has been for so long, we decided that she would enjoy a water chute with her dad and big sisters. But half way round she got scared. By the final big drop she was clinging to her dad out of sheer terror.
When she came off, that fear made her highly irrational. Rides that she had previously enjoyed she no longer wanted to go back on. She
gave me and her dad hell in the way only a feisty five year old can! For a while, all of the joy of the experience was lost for all of us.
Humans never can and never will be at their best when acting out of fear.
Which is why I am so concerned about the situation in the entire county of Lincolnshire at the moment. In the last few months the following things have happened in the course of our campaign;
a) Headteachers with great integrity feeling that the only way to protect local education from central government policy is to merge their schools into one organisation, despite expressing that this
would not be their preference without the outside political interference.
b) Teachers using pseudonyms online when all they are doing is engaging in democratic debate for fear of getting into trouble at work.
c) Teachers and teaching assistants apologising to me for not joining the SOS campaign more actively because they fear for their job security.
d) Governors telling me that they feel manipulated into making pro-academy decisions. This does not just relate to the Louth schools.
h) Governors telling me that they have been given a harsh ticking off for discussing issues with each other outside of governors meetings.
i) The Lincoln diocese putting forward plans for an academies trust, when they do not support the policy and think that schools should remain in the local authority family.
j) Tory and Lib Dem councillors voting for all schools in Lincolnshire to become academies, whilst at the same time voicing genuine concerns
about the policy in the debate.
At the moment, those concerned with teaching in Lincolnshire are scurrying round trying to find what they think will be the "least bad" option. Well, it is wake up time. "Least bad" can never equate to
I teach both my own kids and those I teach that a bully is someone who tries to make you do something by making you feel scared.
Michael Gove, that applies to you. You are a clever, manipulative man and you are trying to impose your own will be generating insecurity and fear in those who you are meant to lead and nurture.
What do we tell kids to do when they think they are being bullied? Stand up for yourself, and go and tell a grown up! That is exactly what the teaching profession should be doing right now in
Lincolnshire. We should be standing tall and brave and talking to each other to find a way forward. Not running round in panic assuming that the powers that be simple must have their way with us.
Wherever you live, please sign the following petition
if you think that it is important that Lincolnshire County Council protects the
education system in Lincolnshire from privatisation.
No more decisions based on rumour, fears and manipulation.
Our kids deserve so much more.