Arguments for Schools Privatisation: Is This Really The Best You Can Do?

The outraged reaction to the Government’s plans to privatise all our state schools by forcing them to become franchises of private companies called “Multi-Academy Trusts” continues apace. Tory councillors, the Financial Times and even the Economist have now criticised the plans. The response to the White Paper has been one of genuine shock that a government department could produce such an odious document of propaganda, fantasy and downright lies. Morgan was openly laughed at as she went to the NASUWT conference to explain to teachers that the recruitment and retention crisis has nothing to do with her own Government’s policies, but was because the unions were “too negative”. Oh dear. Meanwhile, however, the true believers, the hardcore of Govian Faithful (and more than a few people already benefitting personally from the largesse of MATs), are desperately thrashing around for arguments to justify or disguise the true motives : moving the education budget into private hands. I’ve collected their various attempts at arguments here, largely because, like Morgan at the NASUWT, I like to laugh at their vacuous stupidity. I’ve even marked them for you, using my own special scale. Feel free to disagree with the scores. Continue reading

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Schools. Or “Of Course It’s Bloody Privatisation”

This week, Nicky “I’m not Michael Gove, Honest” Morgan and her chum George “I’m not Satan, Honest” Osborne, announced that every school in England would be forced to become an academy by 2022. This has proved, to put it mildly, a little controversial. Opponents of academization, both forced and unforced, have generated a petition of more than 100,000 signatures already, while unions, teachers, politicians and Mumsnet(!) have united in fairly vitriolic opposition. Even Tristram Hunt and David Blunkett came out against this, which tells a remarkable story in itself. However, the “Glob“, as Francis Gilbert termed the very vocal and influential minority who actively support Gove’s privatisation agenda, has been predictably active too. More chaff has been thrown out by supporters of this policy in the last week than the RAF chucked out of its bombers over Germany in 1944, and all with the same intent: to obscure the real target. I’m here to clear the chaff away, hopefully. Continue reading

The Importance of Teachers : Great Irony by Policy Exchange

This morning, I found the Policy Exchange’s latest offering, a report entitled “The Importance of Teachers“. This was a mistake. Finding it, that is, not the offering itself. Hold on, actually, that was also a mistake. But more on that later. The real mistake was that I read it. This was largely on the recommendation of a tweet by Laura McInerney, a journalist I respect, who said “it’s really good”.  So I read it. It’s really not good. It’s terrible. Woeful. Awful. It is a desert of tangential irrelevance with the occasional oasis of good sense. I’m actually fairly appalled that our education “debate” is now so one-sided that this collection of ideological nonsense, peripheral inconsequentiality, meaningless platitudes, “leaderspeak” and head-in-sand vacuousness is what passes for a “good” contribution. In fact, it made me feel so frustrated that my poor Year 12s in Period One found themselves on the end of one of the more aggressively impassioned tirades they’ll ever receive about the failures of management in British industry during the Wilson-Callaghan government. I’m calmer now. So, dear reader, let me summarise those 98 pages for you. Continue reading