David Cameron humiliated as he’s forced to U-turn on his plan to privatise our schools

Support us and go ad-free

David Cameron is reportedly planning a humiliating climb down on his forced privatisation of schools in England.

In the face of mounting opposition, Nicky Morgan is set to allow ‘the best-performing local councils to run academy chains’. Considering academisation is the transfer of control from elected local councils to private-sector academy chains, this could represent a near 180 degree U-turn.

Embarrassingly, Morgan said only last week:

Rightly we will, of course, continue discussions about specific elements of the white paper, but yes, I’m absolutely confident there is very, very broad support for our policy of schools becoming academies.

Opposition to the radical top-down reorganisation of the entire English education system has come from parents, students, governors, Councillors and Labour. But according to The Times (firewall)– who broke this story – the U-turn is to appease opposition from up to 40 Tory rebels.

The government has downplayed the U-turn as media speculation, but with a majority of just 17 in the Commons and fierce cross-party opposition – including from Tory MPs – the wholesale academisation plans must be watered down if they are to pass in parliament.

The Department for Education refused to give any details. A spokesman told The Canary:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Our education reforms are raising standards and 1.4million more children are now in good or outstanding schools.

Our White Paper reforms are the next step in ensuring every child has access to an excellent education by putting control in the hands of the teachers and school leaders who know their pupils best. We want to work constructively with the sector to deliver this and ensure standards continue to rise.

When a school becomes an academy the deeds and land are handed over to unaccountable academy chains on a 150 year lease for a peppercorn rent. While academies may be funded by the state, they are now owned by private sector interest.

From 2010 to the present, schools have been allowed to become academies if they ‘voluntarily choose to’. However, this choice was not as voluntary as the government made out. From 2010, the Conservatives cut the education budget by 25% over four years. At the same time, they told schools that they will award them £25,000 and increase their budget by up to 10% if they become academies. Thus, schools do not choose to become academies because they believe they are better, but to survive arbitrary austerity conditions imposed by the government.

Now the government’s policy is nationwide forced academisation at a cost of £1.5bn, siphoning money away from an already squeezed education budget. Cameron spent Prime Minister’s Questions last week vehemently defending the plans, making a U-turn all the more humiliating.

Cameron has continued to say local authority schools are the problem, and academies the answer:

Local authority schools are often left to fail year after year after year.

I think one year of a failing school is one year too many so let’s encourage academies, let’s build a great education system and let’s have opportunity for all our children.

George Osborne concurs:

It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education. So I’m going to get on with finishing the job we started five years ago, to drive up standards and set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy.

According to the government, academies are effective because they take power away from local government and hand it to the academy chains. But if these ‘academy chains’ are now being run by the councils themselves, what’s the difference? The concession could represent a full U-turn from the government on the nation’s ‘best-performing’ schools.

If it goes ahead, this climb down could represent a huge victory for campaigners. However, considering there is no evidence academies perform better, this ideological move should be rejected completely.

Get involved!

-If you’re sleeping at the wheel and haven’t done it yet, SIGN the petition calling for a referendum on academisation.

Sign the other one, too.

–Get involved with the Anti-Academies Alliance.

Support The Canary so we can continue to bring you the stories that matter.

Write to your MP, and tell them what you think about this wholesale move to academies.

Featured image via Twitter (@PMOTUK)

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed