Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/619/9327
The Socialist 7 April 2010 |
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'Free schools' or free-for-all?
THE LABOUR government and the Tory opposition have virtually identical policies on selling off schools. Both Tweedledum and Tweedledumber propose that throughout the country local schools will be taken over by private companies which will then be able to sell services such as consultancy to the schools.
Both major parties have sought to cover this cheap sell-off of public assets by insisting that the schools "will not be run for profit" - and I am the Queen of Sheba!
Indeed The Times let the cat out of the bag on 1 April (and they insist it was not a joke): "Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, has not specified how new school operators would be vetted but has said that the system would be simpler than at present. He has indicated that profit-driven companies should not be allowed to set up schools, but several Tory officials have told The Times that this barrier would be removed after the election once the 'free schools' policy had been shown to work."
This is interesting in many ways. The policy of free schools "will be shown to work" - they already know the outcome of the experiment. Are they using crystal balls?
Teachers will regard it as amusing that something in education is being made simpler - but apparently only the rules for who can run schools. Look forward to your local McSchool!
The teachers' unions are united in opposition to this programme. The experience of teachers and support staff has been that the takeover of schools has led to a worsening of the conditions of service. And our conditions of teaching are your child's conditions of learning. That is why parents and teachers have fought united campaigns against the sell-off of education.
This will need to be stepped up whichever canaille wins the general election. The Mayor of Barrow found out the hard way that when parents unite against an academy, the political elite can be unseated. Only a party of the working class can stop this disgrace in its tracks.