Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/538/6178

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2008

Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

LABOUR'S 'IMPROVE or close' ultimatum to 638 English schools is a thinly disguised plan to accelerate the privatisation of secondary education. Under their "National Challenge Strategy", schools that have failed to meet the imposed minimum target (of 30% of pupils gaining five A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths) have been put on the government's hit list.

Martin Powell-Davies, secretary, Lewisham National Union of Teachers (NUT)

The price of continued 'failure' will be to become either a privately-sponsored Academy or a Trust school backed by a business or university. Either way, the control of hundreds of schools, including staffing and admissions, will be taken out of the hands of an elected local authority and handed over to private sponsors and trust appointees.

But, instead of planning for the interests of the community as a whole, individual sponsors will put their own interests first, at the expense of other local schools. The fragmentation of education into the control of many different employers is also an obvious threat to collective trade union organisation.

The policy is driven by political dogma, not educational concerns. Despite all the financial advantages offered to them, there is no evidence that academies offer pupils a better education than community schools. After all, how does the government explain why 26 of the schools on the hit list are already academies?

Where academies have succeeded in improving their exam scores, it has too often been down to simply changing the pupil population. For example, academies tend to exclude significantly higher numbers of pupils than neighbouring community schools.

Education Secretary of State, Ed Balls, claims that the policy will help "break the link between poverty and attainment". But a market-driven school system will make divisions greater, not less.

Consistent research demonstrates that the main factor influencing a school's position in the league tables remains the social class of its pupil intake. That's why it is so unfair to impose a common GCSE target on schools, without taking into account the particular circumstances each one faces.

Without a major injection of funding, above all to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20, there is no chance that schools can overcome factors such as poor housing and diet which inevitably discriminate against children from working-class communities.

But, while waving the big stick, the government is offering little in the way of real resources. Much of the £400 million 'National Challenge' funding is earmarked for academies and trusts - not at supporting schools staying as community comprehensives.

Unfortunately, the unjust labelling of schools as 'failures' will inevitably dissuade local parents from applying, compounding the difficulties they face. Demoralised staff, knowing the bullying inquisitions that these initiatives inevitably bring down on the heads of already overworked teachers, will also look to move to other schools as well.

Trade unionists need to expose the real aims behind this divisive initiative, to use their collective strength to defend staff in the targeted schools and to oppose the break-up of local authority schooling. The strike action taken by NUT members in Bolton to oppose their possible removal from council employment shows the way forward.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 18 June 2008:

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

Unite and fight against racism

Protest at BNP 'hate festival'

Let AmDani stay!

conference


International socialist news and analysis

Lisbon Treaty 'No' vote delivers major shock for political and big business Establishment


Socialist Party campaigns

Shell drivers strike

David Davis - sanity or carving a position?

Greater Manchester - save your post office

London protest over Rajapaksa's dismal human rights record

Stop big business polluting our environment


Education

Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Polyclinics - Stop this backdoor privatisation

PFI - a very bad deal for the NHS

Reopen the battle on NHS pay


Socialist Party campaigns

End the occupations

Unison conference: Angry delegates attack leaders


Post office closures

Leeds: Stop Beeston post office closures


Socialist Party workplace news

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

CWU's link with Labour hotly debated

Victory against bosses at Keele

Workplace news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

School:

triangleNEU strike at girls' school chain over pensions

triangleSchool students strike in Austria

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

triangleCovid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

triangleOaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions

Schools:

trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

triangleUnion action needed for Covid safety

triangleCricket's history of racism and elitism

trianglePublic sector pay thaw - union fight is on for a real rise and funding

Academies:

triangleDerby academies closed by strikes against brutal cuts and changes

triangleBrighton: Moulsecoomb strike against academisation

triangleOrganise to oppose Tory academisation plans

Education:

triangleFighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

triangleTories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/2/22

Cardiff

Restore Cardiff's slashed services

23/2/22

Pay

Just Eat couriers continue action to fight pay cut

23/2/22

UCU

University workers continue strike against bosses' attacks

23/2/22

London

Tube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

23/2/22

Students

Workers and students unite and fight

23/2/22

Fees

Fighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

23/2/22

Brighton

Brighton Green and Labour cuts - workers and communities fight back

23/2/22

Anti-cuts

Surrey: Unions and campaigns say stand as an anti-cuts candidate

23/2/22

Newham

Newham City Farm - closed with no consultation

23/2/22

Women

London Socialist Party women's meeting

23/2/22

Socialist

1 March: Socialist Party new website launch

23/2/22

Coventry

Coventry bin strikers lobby strike-breaking Labour council

23/2/22

Strike

Scunny scaffs action forces bosses to the table

23/2/22

Usdaw

Usdaw: 'Reinstate Max' week of action

23/2/22

Anti-cuts

Trade union support for standing anti-cuts election candidates

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999