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Beat back the profiteers
A CONSORTIUM of the three teaching unions, the GMB and Unison recently held a successful public meeting against the conversion of seven of Birmingham's secondary schools into academies.
Clive Walder, Birmingham Socialist Party
Speakers explained how academies are not a solution for failing schools. They showed how the government fiddle the figures, giving the impression that exam passes are rising, but ignoring the fact that many of those passes are GNVQ and not GCSE.
If the academy scheme succeeds, many children won't get a place at their local community school. Academies will want more middle-class pupils who they think will do better in exams.
Lack of special needs provision and the higher exclusion rate in academies can lead to increased pressure on other schools.
Campaigners illustrated how some prospective academy sponsors are more interested in creating a corporate brand than with education. Some create names designed to give the impression that they are educational trusts or charities.
Birmingham council originally said they would take the money that comes with academies and that schools would remain under local authority control but the government would not let them do this.
They then said they only wanted local businesses to be sponsors but only one came forward. Now they have had to cast the net nationwide to find sponsors and there are still two vacancies.
Out of 120 city councillors, only two attended the meeting (and they were both against academies) but they did explain that the cabinet recommendation was ideologically driven, was accepted by all three main parties and was not challenged by the full council.
Clearly the council do not intend to have any real consultation as they have announced dates when the academies will open.
The meeting was determined to launch a successful campaign to mobilise community opposition.
In The Socialist 11 October 2007:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
What we think
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis