RETAIL workers demanded sweeping reform of the education system today, including for politics to be part of the national curriculum.
Hundreds of delegates at the Usdaw conference at Blackpool condemned the government on a wide array of issues, accusing the Tories of neglecting the youth.
Delegates voted in favour of the Scottish government increasing funding for British Sign Language, to include politics as a subject in the national curriculum, to significantly alter schools admissions criteria, to give extra holidays for all children who attend school well and to make all schools take the same holidays off.
Summarising the decisions made, general secretary elect Paddy Lillis said that “education is a topic that matters to all Usdaw members.”
He said: “We need knowledge to challenge unscrupulous employers. The Tories disagree.”
Mr Lillis went on to highlight the fact that since the Tories took power in 2010, central government funding for trade union education has been cut by 50 per cent.
“Educating people is a top priority for this union and it is a key issue for us,” he insisted.
Delegates said that including politics in the national curriculum would help young people become more informed about the political system.
It was argued that this was necessary in order for “the voice of tomorrow” — Britain’s youth — to properly shape their futures.
Alongside challenging the Scottish government to match funding targets for British Sign Language as well as Gaelic Sign Language, calls for schoolchildren with good attendance to gain 10 days extra school time was enthusiastically received on the conference floor.
Samantha Davis, a North West delegate employed by Morrisons, argued that many families struggle to pay the extortionate cost of travel companies during the holiday periods, and are therefore priced out of a well-earned break.
The government was condemned for not acting on this.
Scott Jones, from East London retail, criticised Education Secretary Damian Hinds’s ideologically driven new curriculum, claiming that there is huge bias towards the Conservatives as opposed to the Labour Party.
He urged the government to include the history of the Labour Party, Chartism and trade unionism in the curriculum.
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