Rent strikes and the continuing relevance of Paulo Freire at 100

Blog post by Dr Lucy Wenham, School of Education, University of Bristol; and Dr Helen Young, London South Bank University

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, student rent strikes took place in many universities in England. Lockdowns and moves to online learning meant that students were at times required to pay rent for accommodation they were unable to occupy, or which offered significantly reduced amenities. These students were largely first-year undergraduates, in accommodation owned, overseen or marketed by their universities. They often did not know other students even within their accommodation blocks, as the pandemic lowered occupancy levels and movement and mixing was frequently restricted. Nonetheless, these students joined together to resist, to act collectively and to refuse to pay their rent. Their action resulted in at least partial victory, in some places, for some moments. It also resulted in a growing critical consciousness among those involved. (more…)

Mirror Mirror on the wall. Who, is the fairest of them all?


Jessie AbrahamsDr Jessie Abrahams (Lecturer in Education and Social Justice, School of Education, University of Bristol)

As results time for the COVID cohort hits, and anxiety mounts for young people, the four nations of the UK have begun a worrying battle to prove that their system of allocated grades as a substitute for summer examinations is the fairest of them all. In reality- none of them are fair. As many academics have already exclaimed, they are all set up (much like our whole education system), in favour of white, middle (and upper) class pupils and families (see for example: Ingram, 2020). (more…)