Socialist Worker

Cuts coalition plans to privatise more schools

Issue No. 2203

There was no “austerity” on display from the queen as she paraded into parliament with the usual bizarre and pointless display of pomp and ceremony.

But the queen’s speech contained attack after attack on working class people.

Reducing the deficit is the “first priority” of the government—and ordinary people are expected to pay for it. The myriad of references to “reform” and “modernisation” really mean cuts and privatisation.

So the Tories will “modernise” Royal Mail to “ensure that it benefits from the private sector” (see story, below right).

It will “reform” public services and bring in more “social enterprises”—in other words, privatise them.

The speech also reiterated the government’s intention to cap “non-EU economic migrants” coming to Britain.

It reaffirmed the government’s commitment to war and talked up Iran as a potential threat.

The Tories put academies and “free schools” at the heart of the queen’s speech. Presumably this is because it is the one area where they say they are not cutting funding.

But the policy is a huge transfer of wealth to the rich.

The Tories want to see 2,000 more academies—publicly funded schools run by private “sponsors”. The sponsor gets control of land and school buildings that are often worth millions.

The first such example of a “free” school is in Birkenshaw in West Yorkshire. The plan for a so-called “parent-run” school involves inviting profit-hungry private company Serco to run it.

The Tories based their idea of “free schools” on the 1,000 free schools in Sweden. But even by their own logic they have only made education worse.

Like academies, they enshrine segregation by closing their doors to children who are “difficult” or have special educational needs that may affect their league table results.

Stephen Ball from the Institute of Education in London points out that monopolies will develop once private companies get their hands on public services. Far from giving parents more control, they will find themselves at the mercy of a handful of unaccountable, private bodies.

And if the companies go bankrupt, it will be children’s education that will suffer.

The government pretends to give more “freedom” to ordinary people—but really it is giving more power to big business.


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Tue 25 May 2010, 18:07 BST
Issue No. 2203
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