Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/826/19293
Academies scandal: privatisation leads to nepotism and profit making
Simon Robinson, Leicester NUT member
The Socialist (issue 782) previously reported on a campaign to stop Rushey Mead in Leicester becoming an academy. The school management has never given clear reasons why an academy would benefit anyone involved in the school. But despite a strong campaign, we left for our summer break expecting that we would return to a school on the edge of the academy cliff.
However, the school has already become embroiled in the world of privatisation through a PFI-style, 'Building Schools for the Future' rebuild. The complex financial arrangements involving G4S and other parasitic elements of the private sector mean that no one is now sure when the conversion will go ahead.
To their shame the local authority has already issued TUPE notifications (to say terms and conditions will be protected after a change of employer) to all staff, despite not having a date for conversion!
Staff have been told that the directors, members and trustees of the academy trust will be populated by individuals who have been strong advocates of the academy throughout the consultation period. This includes retired head teachers who spoke to the governors about the joys of academisation and 'consultants' who were keen to speak to staff to reassure them over any concerns - all of them seem to have found themselves in some part of the management structure. The NUT will be looking very closely at any signs of nepotism!
However, it is not just at Rushey Mead that we found ourselves surrounded by this creeping privatisation. More and more examples of 'questionable practices' within academies are being unearthed. After a recent Institute of Education report, examples of profit making and nepotism are beginning to embarrass the Tories. Head teachers attend £50,000 'training courses' which are "run by friends", legal services are conveniently provided by the chairman of the academy trust... the list is endless.
However, it is where the big players of the private sector move into education that we should be most worried! Aurora Academy trust which has four primary schools in East Sussex is already paying £100,000 a year to its US 'parent company' Mosaica Education for the privilege of using its 'global curriculum' called 'Paragon'!
Grace Academy Trust in the Midlands, set up by big Tory backer Lord Edmiston, paid £1 million to or through companies with either direct or indirect connections to Edmiston himself or one of the Academy trustees!
The most audacious example belongs to Academy Enterprise Trust (AET). AET runs 77 schools and has announced that all non-teaching posts will be 'outsourced' to the private sector. The whole privatisation will be overseen by PricewaterhouseCoopers! This means that a large proportion of the DfE money coming into the academies in this chain will go straight to a range of private companies -all overseen by a giant tax accountant firm!
NUT activists have been warning for a long time that before long we will be working in schools where the majority of staff are employed by the private sector, from G4S to teaching supply agencies, and where we work in privatised buildings.
All education workers should redouble their efforts to resist this privatisation of education. It is now more urgent that we organise and strike together starting in October!
In The Socialist 24 September 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party comments and reviews