Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 May 2014

Gove robs education budget to fund divisive 'Free Schools'

Martin Powell-Davies, NUT executive

Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove is an easy target for comedians. A tweet from David Schneider - "Free Schools to be renamed 400m-From-Budget-For-Other-Kids-Schools" - succinctly summed up the latest news. Unfortunately, Gove's policies are no laughing matter.

Reports suggest that these millions are being diverted from the Basic Need budget, urgently needed by local authorities to provide additional school places, into his pet Free Schools project instead.

'Free Schools' are newly-opened privatised academies, 'free' of those cumbersome regulations like having to staff classes with qualified teachers and having to use recognised school buildings.

They are a key part of Gove's ideological mission to accelerate the break-up of state education, replacing accountable local authority schooling with privatised academies. As with the rest of the public sector, education can then also become another avenue for big business to make money, especially if staff pay and pensions can be cut.

Gove appears to have an ideological belief that 'the market works'. The history of privatised services, and the recent history of free schools, tells a different story. Several Free Schools have been hit by high-profile scandals over financial mismanagement and poor educational provision. One of the first to open, Discovery New School in Crawley, has already been forced to close. Yet 3 million was spent on this failed project. In Sweden, the policy has proved disastrous.

Altogether, 174 Free Schools have opened so far but many in areas where there is no pressing need for additional places.

However, in areas like London, where the place shortage is becoming critical, councils aren't being allocated the 'basic need' funding they urgently require. 400 million could help fund about 30,000 much needed places.

Even if funding is allocated to Local Authorities, Gove has changed legislation to prevent them opening new community schools where they are needed. Instead, new places have to be provided by Free Schools.

The cross-party Public Accounts Committee has started to question Gove's profligacy and both Labour and the Lib Dems have used the issue as an opportunity to knock government policy. Unfortunately, while both parties might want to show opposition as we approach a general election, their education policies suggest that, if in office, they will follow a very similar path.

Instead of leaving school provision to a chaotic and inefficient free-for-all of private providers, elected local authorities should be given the job of planning and providing well-resourced new schools - and be given the investment needed to do so.

The Free Schools fiasco exposes the madness of the free market ideology that forms the agenda of all the main political parties. Trade unions have a responsibility to lead a community struggle to defend public services and to win the resources needed to meet public needs.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 14 May 2014:

Vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

For the millions not the billionaires

Fight back at the ballot box on 22 May

Building Labour: when workers first formed own party

Southampton: Showing what's possible

Liverpool City Council 1983-87: "We had a choice"

Why we're standing as TUSC candidates

On the campaign trail with TUSC

Socialist Party news and analysis

Ukip - the establishment's 'anti-establishment' party

Housing evictions - main parties to blame

Gove robs education budget to fund 'Free Schools'

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

What's socialism got to do with fighting austerity?

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: The ANC victory, WASP and the EFF

Capitalist politicians can't solve Boko Haram crisis

Ireland: Election campaigns "referendum on austerity"

Socialist Party workplace news

Care UK strike: NHS workers v NHS privatisation

PCS: Re-election of a fighting, socialist leadership

Leadership challenged at Usdaw conference

Brighton: Determined to fight college cuts

Transport workers' international meeting

Workplace news in brief

Fight together for pay rise - Come to NSSN conference

Readers' reviews

TV review: In the Flesh

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight back to scrap junk jobs

Freedom Riders- action brings victory

Building TUSC, building socialism

Donate to the election appeal!

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Home   |   The Socialist 14 May 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Free Schools:

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleCuts leave schools unable to meet basic needs

triangleAcademies mired in debt and corruption

triangleJoin the student fightback to end education cuts and austerity

triangleNo to new grammars


triangleSave education - Kick out the Tories

triangleNEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype

triangleLabour votes to abolish academies and private schools

triangleHuge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant


triangleFighting for free education, jobs, homes, and a future worth living

triangleUCU votes for pay and pension strikes

triangleTrade unionists discuss climate change


triangleCouncil seeks to take budget deficit out on school staff and pupils

triangleLeicester: No-cuts budget only way forward


triangleAcademy strike - standing up to 'bullying' management forces climbdown

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Save education - Kick out the Tories


Green Party

Green Party offers no alternative for young people and climate change chaos


General election

Strike, Protest, Vote - to Kick the Tories out



High Court injunction: solidarity to the CWU - support the posties!



NHS in critical condition


Labour Party

Labour MP targeted by right wing stands as independent


General election

Attacks show elite fear a Corbyn election win



Tories out! Corbyn in with anti-austerity and socialist policies


Grenfell Tower

Grenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment


General election

General election 2019 round-up


Tony Blair

Tony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government


Black history

Black Liberation... Only possible through socialist struggle


General election

Tories out now! Bin Boris



39 migrants found dead in Essex lorry container



Argos Christmas bonus cut

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019