The Socialist 7 December 2006
NHS campaigns unite
Fight Blair's divisive academy programme
IN A speech last week Blair announced that his pet academy schools programme would double from the 200 schools planned by 2010 to 400. That's twice as many schools in this divisive scheme where the private 'sponsors' allow little accountability or control. Added to this are 100 Trust schools which are similar to academies without any private investment.
Blair thinks the market can solve all problems in education. This idea is now showing its true face. Any local democratic control of our children's future is handed over to profit-seeking companies or to religious fundamentalists trying to control our children's minds.
These schools simply increase the competition between areas, schools and pupils. Once a school is taken away from the public sector, selection starts either by weighted admissions policies or, more stealthily, through harsher disciplinary procedures.
Academies have no record for making improvements even in the short term, but in the long term they are destructive. We are being pushed back to the Victorian age where charity and philanthropy rather than rights are hopes for working-class people.
Academies are increasingly unpopular. Despite millions of our money being pumped into them to put them in a good light the opposition grows. Last week, 200 campaigners from around the country came together in the second anti-academies alliance conference.
Serious action needs to be prepared by the teachers' unions including strike action. This, together with community campaigns bringing parents together and explaining in detail what these schools really mean, could stop this massive attack on education.
Privatisation is running wild now in the public sector. Attempts to run down services, to demoralise staff and users are tactics used to 'prove' that private control is the only solution. Adult education and other sectors also face cuts with contestability i.e. privatisation brought in. Lambeth college unions recently attracted 140 participants to a conference.
These struggles against the onslaught of privatisation should be part of a nationwide fightback by working-class people against policies that only benefit the ruling class.
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War and terrorism
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