Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/719/14563
Lincolnshire academies in crisis
Schools should be put back under community control
Academies are a major plank of the Con-Dems' education policy. They are outside local authority democracy and promised increased funding, at the expense of the remaining local authority schools. They don't have to follow the national curriculum nor teachers' national pay and working conditions agreements.
Lincolnshire Socialist Party member Nick Parker writes.
An academy chain that teaches over 5,000 children across Lincolnshire was thrown into crisis after the resignation of its chief executive Richard Gilliland.
Gilliland, who was paid over £200,000 a year, resigned amid allegations of corruption emerging from a government investigation into the academy chain's finances, and the report's subsequent cover-up. The content of the report, which has since been made public, is nothing short of explosive.
Gilliland ordered the purchase and development of a French chateau which was used for family holidays. School credit cards were used for the purchase of sex games and supplements, as well as iPads, a dishwasher and washing machine, horse riding lessons for his son, and much more!
The Priory Federation of Academies Trust, which runs several primary and secondary schools in the county, was set up in 2007 in the face of opposition from teaching unions and Lincolnshire Socialist Party. Alan Watkins-Groves, then assistant divisional secretary of Lincolnshire NUT, was criticised for opposing academies. He has since been completely vindicated.
At the time, Socialist Party members supported him and warned that the New Labour-backed academy project undermined democratic accountability.
The Tory MP for Lincoln, Karl McCartney, said the report should be buried after he read it.
While Labour's Lucy Rigby argued for the report to be made publicly available, in a question and answer session at the 2011 TUC congress, Labour leader Ed Miliband confirmed his support for academies. Academies were first set-up under Tony Blair's Labour government, paving the way for the current government's massive expansion of the scheme.
Instead of academies, the Socialist Party demands increased investment in comprehensive, local authority education.
Lincolnshire Socialist Party members call on the teaching unions, school students and everyone opposed to the sort of corruption that has emerged here to unite against academies.
We seek to build a mass campaign to bring our schools back under local authority jurisdiction, with democratic control including by elected representatives of unions, students, parents and the local community. The rotten core of the academy system has been laid bare for all to see.
Striking against academies
Teachers at Downhills school in Haringey, north London, took their first day of strike action against the school becoming an academy on Tuesday 22 May.
As we go to press, NUT members at Kingsthorpe College, Northampton, are due to strike on Wednesday 23 May against the proposal to transfer their employment to the Collaborative Academies Trust, the 'non-profit' arm of Edison Learning.
NASUWT and NUT members in 15 primary schools in Birmingham, all threatened with being forced to become academies, are also being balloted for industrial action.
Read more at electmartin1.blogspot.co.uk
Don't want to teach at 68? Make your voice heard!
Local Associations for National Action Conference
Saturday 16 June, 11am - 3.30pm
The Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT
This event is our chance to plan how we are going to make sure teacher unions maintain the momentum of the pensions campaign - and escalate and extend our action to cover other issues too.
Conference delegates need to be elected by their Local Association - but visitors will be welcome too.
In The Socialist 23 May 2012:
Fighting the cuts
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news