Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/479/2191
Keep the market out of education!
LINCOLNSHIRE COUNTY council proposes to spend up to £50 million transforming three local schools into 'city academies'. Lincolnshire National Union of Teachers (NUT) recently held a public meeting in Lincoln to discuss these proposals.
Marc Glasscoe Socialist Party Lincolnshire
City academies are yet another way in which Blair and his neo-liberal cronies try to force privatisation on us. Academies involve offering a 'partner' from the private sector the opportunity to use public money to build a new school provided they contribute up to £2 million to costs.
In Lincoln's case this could be as little as 4% of the proposed academies' final cost. In return for this relatively paltry contribution the 'sponsor' gets full control of the school, from setting the curriculum to controlling the budget and even staff pay and conditions.
This is alleged to help improve failing schools. Bizarrely, one school earmarked for academy treatment in Lincoln was recently rated one of the country's fastest improving schools!
All these millions are only available, however, if you are prepared to hand over the school. No privatisation, no money! Campaigners against council house privatisation will be aware of this blackmail tactic.
Socialist Party members pointed out the similarities between this, the housing situation and the constant cuts in the NHS. This is what happens when the market enters our public services. Schools in the area are left to fight over who gets the best share of an inadequate pool of public funding while the private vultures pick off the juiciest bits.
Some people asked, can we turn down the possibility of millions of pounds of investment? Lincolnshire NUT President-elect Alan Watkins-Grove said that there is nothing he would like more than massively increased investment for Lincolnshire education. However, the privatisation of local schools was not a price worth paying.
The meeting discussed where the NUT should go from here. Suggestions were made for lobbying MPs and local councillors.
Socialist Party member Scott Lumsden pointed out the futility of lobbying a Blairite MP or Tory councillors who support proposals for academies. He called for a focussed campaign, involving trade unions, parents and teachers to oppose academies and fight for proper government funding for education.
The NUT now feel they have a mandate to build a campaign against city academies in Lincoln. This is yet another front in the battle against privatisation and the sell-off of our public services!
In The Socialist 22 March 2007:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party campaigns
International Socialist Resistance
Socialist Party news and analysis
What we think
Marxist analysis: history
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis