Socialist Worker

State school is taken for Ryde

Issue No. 1816

A STATE primary school has done a deal with a commercial college that would see parents charged £600 for their children's tuition in school hours. Tutors from the privately-run Ryde College, near Watford in Hertfordshire, have agreed to prepare 20 nine and ten year olds at Lea Junior Primary School in Slough, Berkshire, for GCSEs in information technology - at a price.

It is believed to be the first time that staff from a commercial education firm have charged for teaching in a state school during school hours. Slough Borough Council announced it would investigate the deal, while a teachers' union said charging the parents of state school pupils threatened the principle of free education.

Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the teachers' NASUWT union, said: 'Surely this undermines the principle of access to education for all youngsters? 'If such courses become more widespread, it could threaten one of the great bulwarks of the state education service - access for all.'

Who will be Footing the mayor's bill?

AS WE report on page 7, Paul Foot will be standing for the Socialist Alliance for mayor of the east London borough of Hackney. Paul's election team was anxious to discover how much the mayor would be paid. The remarkable answer from the council was that it will be decided AFTER the result of the election is declared!

A meeting three days after the count will vote on how much to give the winner. Executive mayors elected under the new system are paid up to £53,000 a year. Just how much do you think the Labour-dominated council would vote through if Paul won?

THE RAC motoring company has been forced to launch an investigation after one of its vans was seen at the Nazi BNP's recent 'festival' in Sawley. The van was spotted in the car park on the second day of the festival. It was not attending a breakdown and there was no sign of the driver.

TWO top cops facing allegations of corruption have been suspended from work for five years on their full salaries. The police officers' suspension is costing around £1 million of public money. The men were actually cleared of having committed any offences back in May 1999. But incredibly they are still waiting for a disciplinary hearing.

Charged for rights abuses

SHAHID QURESHI fled from Pakistan to Australia and was banged up in a notorious refugee detention centre in Melbourne for six months. He has now been landed with a £10,000 bill for his time inside.

This works out at £57 a night. But Mr Qureshi was locked in a cramped, doorless dormitory with a two-hour queue for the showers.

He said, 'I just don't understand it. They keep me in jail by force - they insult me, give me bad food to eat. I'm not a criminal but I have to wear handcuffs. And then when I come out of there they give me a big bill.' The only way Mr Qureshi can avoid paying the bill is to return to Pakistan where he fears persecution.

Stuff the (£25) jubilee photo

STAFF AT Buckingham Palace have been asked to pay £25 each for a framed copy of a royal photo. The shot of 500 palace workers was taken to mark the jubilee. Low paid palace workers on less than £200 a week are furious.

One told newspapers, 'It's a bit rich. The queen could afford to give a photo to everyone.' Before the jubilee the staff were asked to pay between £5 and £20 each to buy the queen a gift.

US fired first

FOR YEARS we've been told that the US had to strike back against Japan after being attacked at Pearl Harbor. But it has now come out that the US inflicted the first casualties during the battle in December 1941.

A US warship fired on and sank a Japanese mini-submarine an hour before the Japanese attack on the US base. Researchers found the wreckage last week.

ANGIOLINA Foster has just taken over as acting chief executive of the Glasgow Housing Association. This is the body which will run the city's housing after it was removed from council control.

She is also Communities Scotland director of regulation and inspection. This means she will now head the body she is supposed to monitor.

GEORGE BUSH always claims US citizens are 'freedom-loving people', but they don't have equal access to that freedom. More black men in the US are in prison than in higher education, a new report has confirmed.

In 2000 there were 791,600 black men in US prisons and country jails, while only 603,032 were enrolled in colleges and universities. In the last 20 years the number of black men imprisoned in the US has risen fivefold as increasing numbers are locked up for non-violent offences. In 1980 some 143,000 black men were locked up while 463,700 were studying.

During the same 20 years spending on prisons rose from 2.1 percent of the national budget to 6.3 percent. Meanwhile, spending on higher education fell from 8 percent to 4.3 percent.

Things they say

'THE global situation contains its own fragilities - the internal contradictions of global capitalism, and the errors and excesses it brings with it.'
JACQUES CHIRAC, right wing president of France

'THE TRUTH is that the longer that this business goes on the more damaging it becomes to US foreign policy. The president seems to be saying one thing, vice-president Dick Cheney is saying something different, and other officials something else.'

'THE bishops really annoy us. They do not know what they are talking about.'
DOWNING STREET INSIDER on anti-war clergy

'TODAY THE anti-war movement is potentially better placed than at any time since the 1930s. It could well be representing the views of the majority. Any outcome short of a swift and total victory over Saddam Hussein could prove fatal to Mr Blair's premiership.'

'BLAIR COULD not survive overwhelming public and party opposition to British support for a US attack. If we didn't support it, it is very unlikely Bush would carry it out.'
Former right wing Labour chancellor LORD HEALEY

'THE BASIS of Virgin's franchise over the last five years has been people were paying more now in advance of prospective improvements... and slowly the improvements are being chipped away.'
ANTHONY SMITH, director of the Rail Passengers Council, on the West Coast Main Line closures

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 7 Sep 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1816
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