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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Schools of scandal

Now there’s a thing. To replace several state-owned schools, the UK government set up academies – many of which are run by religions – in order to inject sponsorship money into the education system.

That, according to Francis Beckett, writing in the Guardian, was the excuse at the time. He writes:

If, say, Peter Vardy in the northeast, or Robert Edmiston in the Midlands were to loosen their bulging wallets, they would expect something in return. That something, in the case of Vardy and Edmiston, was the chance to instil in their academies the ferocious evangelical Christianity which these two gentlemen espouse.

But now, as we heard yesterday, the government has decided to drop the £2 million upfront payment that sponsors currently have to put up (in cash or in kind), which, anyway, is a small fraction of the cost of running each of these places (the taxpayer continues to fund the rest of the cost). So where’s the excuse for these academies gone to?

The Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, spoke yesterday in interviews of how the institutions will take on the “ethos” of the sponsor and how wonderful this is all going to be. Need I say more?

NuLabour has moved a step further along the road of privatising schools, and pushing many of them into the hands of fundamentalist religions at the same time.

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