Students from Sheffield joined others from around the country to march for free education in London on Wednesday 15 November.

Up to 10,000 students were expected to descend on London for the march, culminating in a rally at Parliament Square.

The event was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), and featured students from areas as far afield as Aberdeen.

Education Officer Stuart McMillan, who also sits on the National Committee for NCAFC, led Sheffield’s participation in the march, featuring students from Hallam as well as the University.

Stuart McMillan said: “It was brilliant to see so many Sheffield students march with us, from those engaged with the SU to those who had never been on a protest before.

“I’m sure so many will go home inspired by the clear and radical message in favour of an education system run in the interests of the many, and funded by taxing the rich and big business.

“I think this was articulated most clearly by the most popular chant on the day, ‘students and workers: unite and fight!’. The day was the start of something much bigger, and in the months ahead we have the real fight on our hands.

“Whether it’s organising to fight the HE reforms or supporting University workers in potential strike action, there’s never been a better time to be involved in free education activism.”

The march was calling not just for an end to all tuition fees, but also the restoration of living grants for students and the halting of campus cuts. According to the SU, 30 campuses around the country have already been affected by cuts in the last few years.

Around 70 students travelled down from Sheffield on coaches for the march, including most of the Students’ Union officers and members of Students’ Union Council.

The Students’ Union offered cheap travel to those interested in going, charging just £5 for the coach tickets.

On the day, students put their point across raucously, with chants and flares as they walked through a busy part of central London.

Chants centred on the current Conservative government – in particular on Theresa May – but also showed support for the Labour Party and socialism.

Placards were given out freely at the beginning of the march at Malet Street, as well as many banners being brought from SUs around the country.

There were several speakers both before and after the march. Some, especially from the National Union of Students, gave rousing speeches outside University College London’s Students’ Union at the start, while NCAFC figures (including Stuart McMillan) spoke at the end of the march, just yards from the Houses of Parliament.


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