Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Accuracy of academy schools statement: Comments by Martin Francis

Martin you are at liberty to post direct to GL discuss, and I will post your comments on andy's statement to the GL and GPTU blogs as I have no intention of censorship. I posted Andy's statement as a draft because I have technical problems with email access currently and I thought it better to post it and then add comments. PM

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin
To: Andy Hewett
Sent: Wed, 13 May 2009 8:46
Subject: GreenLeft statement on Lewisham Bridge

I note that my response on the accuracy of the statement on funding in this press release has not been circulated on Green Left discuss, although a separate message giving information has been.

I am concerned that this part of the statement is wrong:

State funding which has been lavished upon the private banks is not so forthcoming where it is so desperately needed for example in education. Instead private finance is being used to fund schools, leading to effective privatisation in the guise of Academy Schools and Foundation Trusts. What's good enough for the banks is evidently not good enough for the rest of us.

Schools funded by private capital and taken out of the control of Local Education Authorities are undemocratic and accountable only to themselves.

Academies have only a small contribution (£2m) from the sponsor and this has been going down. Most of the money comes from direct from the government as do the running costs and other grants. The Academies programme is based on the premise that private entrepreneurs and charities will introduce a new ethos in failing schools and they will be freed from the 'dead hand' of local authorities. The sponsor gets an automatic majority on the governing body so local democratic control is lost and they also gain control of the buildings and grounds. One of our main platforms in fighting the local academy is this loss of democratic control and accountability over our local schools. It is worth noting that despite early promises of freedom from government control, funding agreements have been used to set conditions and local authorities have become more involved in academies as their record in raising standards has been questioned. Michael Goves, for the Tories, has written a paper that claims the government is increasingly intervening in academies and they are likely to give them more 'freedom' if elected, as well as reducing the financial input required from sponsors and extending the programme to primary schools.

Martin Francis

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