As I stood in the light drizzle, surrounded by hundreds of chanting people, I had that peculiar tearful feeling that you get when you’re in a large group with a shared purpose. It might be a gig, or a minute’s silence, or a protest, but there is something about the feeling of camaraderie that is unlike anything else. Maybe it’s because there is, at least, hope in collective action.
‘WHO’S SCHOOL?’ the speaker demanded over the PA.
‘OUR SCHOOL!’ The crowd shouted back.
The speaker had just told the crowd about her recent experiences as a teacher in a northern school that had been academised. She told a story of reduced terms and conditions for staff, and the replacement of experienced teachers with ‘cheaper’, less qualified ones. At one point she nearly broke down in tears and had to be comforted by a friend.