Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/538/6178

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2008

Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

LABOUR'S 'IMPROVE or close' ultimatum to 638 English schools is a thinly disguised plan to accelerate the privatisation of secondary education. Under their "National Challenge Strategy", schools that have failed to meet the imposed minimum target (of 30% of pupils gaining five A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths) have been put on the government's hit list.

Martin Powell-Davies, secretary, Lewisham National Union of Teachers (NUT)

The price of continued 'failure' will be to become either a privately-sponsored Academy or a Trust school backed by a business or university. Either way, the control of hundreds of schools, including staffing and admissions, will be taken out of the hands of an elected local authority and handed over to private sponsors and trust appointees.

But, instead of planning for the interests of the community as a whole, individual sponsors will put their own interests first, at the expense of other local schools. The fragmentation of education into the control of many different employers is also an obvious threat to collective trade union organisation.

The policy is driven by political dogma, not educational concerns. Despite all the financial advantages offered to them, there is no evidence that academies offer pupils a better education than community schools. After all, how does the government explain why 26 of the schools on the hit list are already academies?

Where academies have succeeded in improving their exam scores, it has too often been down to simply changing the pupil population. For example, academies tend to exclude significantly higher numbers of pupils than neighbouring community schools.

Education Secretary of State, Ed Balls, claims that the policy will help "break the link between poverty and attainment". But a market-driven school system will make divisions greater, not less.

Consistent research demonstrates that the main factor influencing a school's position in the league tables remains the social class of its pupil intake. That's why it is so unfair to impose a common GCSE target on schools, without taking into account the particular circumstances each one faces.

Without a major injection of funding, above all to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20, there is no chance that schools can overcome factors such as poor housing and diet which inevitably discriminate against children from working-class communities.

But, while waving the big stick, the government is offering little in the way of real resources. Much of the 400 million 'National Challenge' funding is earmarked for academies and trusts - not at supporting schools staying as community comprehensives.

Unfortunately, the unjust labelling of schools as 'failures' will inevitably dissuade local parents from applying, compounding the difficulties they face. Demoralised staff, knowing the bullying inquisitions that these initiatives inevitably bring down on the heads of already overworked teachers, will also look to move to other schools as well.

Trade unionists need to expose the real aims behind this divisive initiative, to use their collective strength to defend staff in the targeted schools and to oppose the break-up of local authority schooling. The strike action taken by NUT members in Bolton to oppose their possible removal from council employment shows the way forward.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 18 June 2008:

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

Unite and fight against racism

Protest at BNP 'hate festival'

Let AmDani stay!

conference


International socialist news and analysis

Lisbon Treaty 'No' vote delivers major shock for political and big business Establishment


Socialist Party campaigns

Shell drivers strike

David Davis - sanity or carving a position?

Greater Manchester - save your post office

London protest over Rajapaksa's dismal human rights record

Stop big business polluting our environment


Education

Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Polyclinics - Stop this backdoor privatisation

PFI - a very bad deal for the NHS

Reopen the battle on NHS pay


Socialist Party campaigns

End the occupations

Unison conference: Angry delegates attack leaders


Post office closures

Leeds: Stop Beeston post office closures


Socialist Party workplace news

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

CWU's link with Labour hotly debated

Victory against bosses at Keele

Workplace news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

School:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleYoung Socialists launched in Greater Manchester

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe

triangleGlasgow jannies win famous victory against council cutters

Schools:

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

trianglePlans to bring A-levels back to Knowsley abandoned

triangleEducation cuts forced back

Academies:

triangleCorbyn pledges council powers to take over academies

triangleCorbyn pledges end to uni fees and school cuts

triangleCuts leave schools unable to meet basic needs

Education:

triangleStriking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

18/10/17

Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2