Attention has rightly focused on the budget this week. But in the background the Tories are steadily dismantling state education.
The government is encouraging schools to become academies. The plan is to push back towards the days of grammar schools for an elite and secondary moderns for the rest.
Admission policies and exclusion methods allow academies to discriminate in favour of the better-off and “successful” pupils.
Academies will be able to tear up workers’ nationally agreed pay and conditions. And incredibly the consultation process includes no democratic ballot for parents and teachers.
A handful of people will be allowed to decide if our schools will be academies, taking them away from local accountability.
Ministers are also pushing groups of parents, teachers or charities to establish “free” schools. There’s nothing “free” about them.
They will take money, staff and pupils from other schools and privilege the few at the expense of the majority.
The new governing bodies are likely to contract out the running of schools to profit-seeking private companies in return for management fees.
To make matters worse, education secretary Michael Gove has even considered taking money from the free school meal programme to fund the schools.
The Tories are trying to rush this through. It’s a positive step that the executive of the National Union of Teachers has agreed to move towards local and national strike action against academies, cuts, and attacks on pay and pensions. It needs to come quickly.
And every teacher, school governor, parent and student should demand that their school does not go down the route out of state education.
Public meeting: No more Academies, No ‘Free’ Schools, Defend State Education, Thursday 24 June, 6.30pm, Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London, SW1H 9NH. Speakers include Fiona Millar, Christine Blower (NUT), Chris Keates (NASUWT), Christina McAnea (Unison), Mary Bousted (ATL). Hosted by Anti Academies Alliance