Monday, 11 May 2009

Lewisham Bridge Primary School; Draft statement by Andy Hewett (GPTU& GL Committee member)

As the capitalist economy continues to collapse in its current period of global crisis, the only solution proposed by the government is to pump billions of pounds into the failing system, effectively privatising the profit and nationalising the debts accrued by the unregulated banks.

Yet the same profit-driven neoliberal ideology of the domination of market forces which has so spectacularly failed is being increasingly applied to what remains of our public services. 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. These projects serve primarily to make money, not to provide the best possible education for all children. Green Party policy regarding this is unequivocal:

"The Green Party opposes City Academies and Trust Schools as we believe that schools should be governed in the interests of children and their parents, not through private individuals or businesses."

Currently there are plans in Lewisham to knock down an old primary school and build a privately funded Trust school. Despite the lack of planning permission, the pupils from the Lewisham Bridge Primary School are being bussed to another site instead of being allowed to use the perfectly good school building that exists, this is extending their school day to up to 8 hours. The education and well-being of these children and their families is being affected. Capitalism is creating a legacy of environmental devastation for their generation to inherit, it is also failing them in putting the interests of private capital ahead of their education.

For these reasons Green Left fully supports the "Hands Off Lewisham Bridge" campaign, which has occupied the school and is making a stand against the imposition of the interests of private capital over the education of their children. Green Left similarly supports all other campaigns which are standing up and taking action to oppose the privatisation of our education system, and to demand a publicly funded state education system for the benefit of all.

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