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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 August 2010

Oppose divisive academies policy

BLUNDERING EDUCATION minister, Michael Gove, is finding that the realities of life do not match his free market fantasies.

Robin Pye

Having claimed that over a thousand schools wanted to become academies, it turns out the actual number is 153.

Academies are able to take control of their own admissions policy and ignore trade unions and nationally agreed pay scales.

It turns out that far from straining to be released from the bureaucratic shackles of local government, most headteachers and school governors are happy to continue running schools that work together with other schools in their area to provide a good education system for all children.

Ed Balls, the New Labour education spokesman and leadership candidate, has criticised Gove's academy expansion policy but his arguments are undermined by the fact that Gove is merely rolling out a New Labour policy.

It was Blair's government that launched academies and persisted with the policy despite any evidence that academies improved children's education.

All the pro-business parties are keen to create opportunities for big business to profit from a publicly funded education system as happens in Sweden and the USA.

Another reason for the Tories' and New Labour's fixation with the academies model is they hate to see a centrally coordinated, publicly accountable system working.

It might give people ideas!

After years of setting up academies, there is no evidence of broad support for them from parents, teachers or students.

Some communities have accepted academies as the price they have had to pay for having new school buildings.

Often, they have tried to find ways of keeping academies linked into the local authority school network.

Socialists will continue to support parents, teachers and students in opposing academies. The education system does not need artificial forms of competition foisted on it. It needs resources to reduce class sizes, give teachers more time to plan better lessons and provide support for students' individual needs.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 4 August 2010:

We need 'biggest movement since poll tax'


Anti-cuts campaign

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Waltham Forest's Labour council faces opposition

Coventry campaigners fight cuts of 140 million

Swansea trades council leads battle for services

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NSSN pledged to fight cuts


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Afghanistan: US strategy in disarray


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Youth fight for jobs

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No to privatisation of our universities

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Environment and socialism

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