Britain  •  Women  •  Youth

Camden girls proud to fight!

01 January 2011

We staged a 24-hour “teach-in” on Wednesday 8 December in a form of protest against this coalition Government, which has now voted for the raising of tuition fees up to £9,000. The main reason for the occupation was to raise awareness through media coverage about this rise in tuition fees, and we feel we were really successful in doing just this. Also we gained a phenomenal amount of support, by MPs (Caroline Lucus and Jeremy Corbyn), local residents, ex-students, teachers and many others.
It was the first occupation of a sixth form and we hope that many more will follow, as it will be both current years in colleges and sixth forms that will be targeted and deeply affected by these attacks on education.
People in their last year of sixth form are being forced to chose between having a gap year (an experience that helps people learn more about the society we live in) and paying £9,000 per year, or going straight to University to escape this rise. People in their first year will be the first to be hit.
During the occupation students still attended their lessons, coming to the sixth form hall, where the occupation was staged, during their free time. Between 50 and 80 of us stayed overnight.
We held meetings in a circle and based them on consensus, meaning everyone had a voice. Although I can’t talk for everyone there, from what we have talked about, the occupation was a highly educational experience.
We learnt that – contrary to what the Government has led us to believe – we do, as individuals and under-18s, have our own voice and have every right to be heard. Also as a community, we all treated each other, our teachers and the occupied space with respect and understood that, although we were with our friends, this wasn’t a party but a political statement.
Furthermore, within the 24-hour occupation, people found their own political voice and opinions – not that of their parents, but their own – and in turn found that many more of us shared those opinions.
Although the teachers were perhaps a little frustrated with the occupation, I am so proud of my school – especially everyone who attended the occupation. We (including the boys) are all proud to be known as the Camden Girls.

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