In the protest movement against cuts to education, Camden School for Girls has had the most politically active sixth-form in the UK.
On 10th November 2010, almost 100 students joined the first demonstration against plans to cut university funding and allow institutions to increase their fees up to £9,000 per year. Many of the students took part in non-violent direct action outside Millbank Tower, the HQ of the Conservative party.
On 24th November 2010, 300 students walked out of their lessons at 11am to congregate for a rally at Cantelowes park before heading to Trafalgar Square to join the protests. Most of the students were kettled on Whitehall for as much as nine hours – prompting students to consider a method of protest in an environment safe from regressive police tactics.
You can read the letter they wrote to teachers explaining why they walked out here.
On 8th December 2010, the eve of the vote on tuition fees, students staged a 24-hour occupation of school premises to raise awareness of the extent of nationwide student anger – and to urge MPs to follow their election pledges. The school led news bulletins on the BBC and ITN, and a representative, Sophie Burge, tackled Lib Dem whip Norman Lamb MP live in the Channel 4 News studio.
Students hosted an anti-cuts rally at Cantelowes Gardens on 23rd March 2011, with student speakers alongside representatives from UK Uncut and Militant Student speaking to an audience of around 80. The speeches aimed to build momentum for the upcoming ‘March for the Alternative’ on the 26th.
Camden students subsequently marched alongside school staff on the 26th March, joining hundreds of thousands of workers, trade unionists and anti-cuts activists.
Header photo Ⓒ Josie Hinton 2010