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October 7, 2022

35 Black and White Photos of the UK School Students’ Strike in 1985

The Youth Training Scheme (YTS) was set up by the government in 1983 claiming to offer workplace training for 16-17-year-olds on a voluntary basis.

However, as with apprenticeships today many employers took advantage of the scheme to use young people as full-time workers paying less than £30 per week, with no guarantee of a job at the end.

In 1985 the government threatened to make the scheme compulsory, and take unemployment benefits away from any young people refusing to participate: similar to today’s workfare schemes. At that time a majority of children left school at 16.

London based-photographer David Sinclair took these photos that documented the strike of school students in 1985.
“As many as 10,000 school students in Liverpool went on strike against YTS conscription in 1985. The Labour Party Young Socialists helped to organize the demo but no one had any idea so many would turn up. Labour Counsilers had to steward it.

The kids met at St Georges Hall and a demo was meant to go through town to the Pier Head but the kids just heard Pier Head and ran straight down Dale St bypassing the town centre. Terry Fields MP addressed the rally. Goverment minister Tom King postponed the bill for a year but YTS conscription was brought in by Thatcher.”

 (Photo © David Sinclair)


  1. red diaper babies

  2. Probably, now most of them will be ashamed of how easy it was to manipulate them.




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