Socialist Worker

Opting out of Tory education policies

Issue No. 2218

Tory education secretary Michael Gove’s flagship policies are a flop.

He came to office promising to give a “rocket boost” to Labour’s academies programme and to “revolutionise” education with so‑called free schools.

Now it emerges that just 16 free schools will be set up by next September.

Free schools are a fluffy sounding way of opening up education to big business and turning what should be an essential service into profit-making enterprises.

Free schools will still receive government funding—and so divert money away from state-run schools.

Yet the government hands over control of them to independent “providers”.

The propaganda so far has implied these will be mainly groups of parents who want more of a say over how their children are taught.

But in reality parents would end up buying in specialist services, such as builders, payroll, human resource managers and so on, in order to run the schools.

And private companies are lining up to provide them—at a price.

Running schools for profit means scrimping on everything to make more money—including the number of school workers, their wages, play facilities and educational resources.

It all adds up to a much worse education for children—and that’s before you take into account the fact that free schools can opt out of the national curriculum.

So, at free schools in Bradford, unfortunate children are to be taught “etiquette” and “fine dining”.

Gove and his government want to smash comprehensive education and the idea that all children, whatever class they are from, deserve a decent education.

But his policy is already floundering—and as more and more people organise against him, there is a real chance to deliver a humiliating blow to the Tories.

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What We Think
Tue 7 Sep 2010, 17:52 BST
Issue No. 2218
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