So What’s Wrong with Academisation? 10 Myths and Facts to Disprove Them

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What’s Wrong with Academies?

The policy of the break up of our Local Education Authorities, pitching schools against one another in an ultra-competitive environment has nothing to do with learning, nothing to do with improving standards, and everything to do with privatisation of our schools and profits for the Academy chains. The result is seriously damaging the education of young people today.

Jeremy Corbyn wants to see Academies returned to Local Education Authorities.

Instead of inter-school competition, he wants to bring all schools “back into the local authority orbit”. He has discussed “rebuilding the family of education” and said he thinks local authorities could oversee and provide supplementary support resources for schools. He also suggested local authorities should be allowed to build new schools again. . “We need to be bolder about all children having an equal chance, proud of the idea of first-rate community comprehensive education and encourage a diverse mix of pupils in all our schools”. Corbyn also wants to set up a National Education Service – which would be modelled similar to the NHS. (Schoolsweek)

LEAs or local consortia should involve professional teachers and educational professionals  as well as parents in decision making. Co-operation rather than competition between schools allows sharing resources, skills and provision of centralised services such as SEN, Education Psychology, provision for sick children and CAMHS.

Labour’s Education minister Lucy Powell has announced at Conference her plans to bring back LEAs. “Schools must work together not compete. Local authorities will be able to ensure sufficient places and fair admissions, and have the ability to intervene in any school that is failing. I want to encourage collaboration in communities of schools and for all schools to work with their local communities to drive up standards.”

Academised schools should be returned to our local community – our family of schools , as Jeremy Corbyn has referred to. The following article  by Henry Stewart has been previously published on Local Schools Network, and is available for download in Word Form here. It is the result of extensive research, and clearly exposes the claims for justification of Academisation as untruths.

Please share widely, as it is important that these myths which the government are circulating in the media are debunked, so that parents , teachers and politicians can act in counteracting these policies, and protect the education of our children.  Schools are there to provide the education all our young people need. We must ensure that is the case.

Academies: Myths & Facts – Henry Stewart, Local Schools Network 

By Henry Stewart

Myth 1: Local authorities are no good at helping schools improve. That’s why “inadequate” schools must be converted to academies.

The facts: Of the 331 primary schools that were rated “Inadequate” at their previous inspection, and did not become academies, only two remained “inadequate” by the time Ofsted called again. On average, this was less than 21 months later.

Of 59 secondary schools that were rated “Inadequate” at their previous inspection, and did not become academies, only four (7%) remained “inadequate” by the time Ofsted called again. On average, this was less than 15 months later.

There is no need for the forced academisation of the Education and Adoption Bill. Local authorities are actually remarkably successful at helping “inadequate” maintained schools to improve.

More at: http://bit.ly/SponSlow

Myth 2: Sponsored academies are more likely to improve a school that is “inadequate”

This is the basis of the Education and Adoption Bill. Any school rated “inadequate” (or coasting) is to be issued immediately with an academy order. Both the governing body and the local authority will be legally bound to support the conversion.

a.  Sponsored academies are almost four times as likely to remain “inadequate” if secondary and twelve times as likely if primary. 

School Myth 2.jpeg

  • Of primary schools rated “inadequate”, just 0.6% remained “inadequate” at their next inspection (v 6.8% for sponsored academies)
  • Of secondary schools rated “inadequate”, just 7.6% remained “inadequate” at their next inspection (v 27.1% for sponsored academies)

This comparison is between sponsored academies that were “inadequate” at conversion, and have had one Ofsted inspection since, and all maintained schools.

More at: http://bit.ly/spon49000

b) For secondary sponsored academies that have had two Ofsted inspections since conversion, they are over twice as likely to stay “inadequate” and over twice as likely to become “inadequate” if they currently rated higher.      

2b Liklihood-to-remain-or-become

  • A secondary school is over twice as likely to stay “Inadequate” if it is a sponsored academy (6.8% v 17.6%)
  • If a secondary school is rated “Requires Improvement”, it is over twice as likely to become “Inadequate” if it is a Sponsored Academy (7.7% v 19.6%)
  • If a secondary school is rated “Good”, it is four times as likely to become “Inadequate” if it is a sponsored academy (4.4% v 19.6%)
  • If a secondary school is rated “Outstanding”, it is over twice as likely to become “Inadequate” if it is a sponsored academy (3.3% v 8%)

More at: http://bit.ly/InadSpAcad (Note: primaries not included as too few have had 2 inspections)

Myth 3: Forcing “inadequate” schools to become academies is the best route to less children remaining in “inadequate” schools

In fact, due to the facts above, the reverse is true. If we apply the data on the % that remain “inadequate” we can estimate the difference between all “inadequate” schools being in the maintained sector and them all being sponsored academies:

If all “inadequate” schools were of that type, how many children would remain in “inadequate” schools at the next inspection:

Primary Secondary
Maintained schools 505 14,432
Sponsored academies 6,736 57,348
Difference 6,231 42,916

The effect of sponsored academies and the forced academisation of the Education and Adoption Bill can be estimated: 49,000 extra children will remain in “inadequate” schools.

While the number of primaries that are “inadequate” has stayed constant at 2%, the number of “inadequate” secondaries has gone from 3% to 6%, according to ofsted Data View Or as Ofsted 2014 report put it:

“Children in primary schools have a better chance than ever of attending an effective school. Eighty-two per cent of primary schools are now “good” or “outstanding”, which means that 190,000 more pupils are attending “good” or “outstanding” primary schools than last year. However, the picture is not as positive for secondary schools: only 71% are “good” or “outstanding”, a figure that is no better than last year. Some 170,000 pupils are now in “inadequate” secondary schools compared with 100,000 two years ago.” (Ofsted annual report 2014:http://bit.ly/Ofs2014, p8)

The difference? The vast majority of primary schools are still maintained, while the majority of secondaries are now academies.

More at: http://bit.ly/spon49000

Myth 4: Academies are responsible for 1 million more children being in “good” or “outstanding” schools

Nick Gibb: “there are 1,100 sponsored academies that started life as under-performing schools, which is a colossal achievement that has led directly to over 1 million [more] children being taught in “good” or “outstanding” schools.” (11/9/15)

The facts: There are over one million more children in schools rated “good” or “outstanding” but the majority (78%) of these are in primary schools, where there are few academies.

In total there are 69,000 pupils in sponsored academies that are rated “Good” or “Outstanding”, representing just 7% of the extra primary pupils that are in such schools. So 93%

More at: http://bit.ly/NoGibbNo

Myth 5: Sponsored secondary academies improve their GCSE results faster than non-academies

Government ministers frequently make claims that sponsored academies increase their GCSE results at a faster rate than other schools. However the comparison is always between sponsored academies and all maintained schools. As schools increase faster when they start from a lower base, and sponsored academies generally start from a lower base, they will always increase their results faster than all other schools.

The key question is whether a specific school will improve its GCSE results faster if it is a sponsored academy or a maintained school.

To find this out, we must compare sponsored academies to similar maintained schools. The graph below groups schools by their 2011 GCSE results and then compares the change in GCSE results over the three years to 2014.

In each band (20% to 40%, 40% to 60% and over 60%), maintained schools increase their GCSE results faster – or saw them fall less – than sponsored academies.

mtyth 5Sp-academies-2011-2014.jpeg

LSN’s comparisons of 2011, 2012 and 2013 GCSE data generally showed that sponsored academies improved their results no faster than maintained schools but did not show them performing worse. This changed in 2014 with the removal of most GCSE equivalents from the results, which sponsored academies relied heavily on.

Without those equivalents, it seems that sponsored academy secondaries perform, on average, clearly worse than similar maintained schools.

More at: http://bit.ly/SponSlow

Myth 6: Sponsored primary academies improve their KS2 results faster than non-academies

The same is true when the performance of sponsored primaries is compared to similar maintained schools. In this case I adopted a new approach (which I will use for secondaries this year) of grouping the schools into five equal sets, or quintiles, according to their 2012 KS2 results. (ie, each of the five sets has the same number of sponsored academies.)

In four of these quintiles the sponsored academies improved their results at a slower rate. Only in the already highest performing set did the sponsored academies perform better.

Note that the same pattern as for secondaries is clear, that the fastest improvement is in the groups of schools that previously had the lowest results. Far more of the maintained schools are in the higher sets and so, if sponsored academies are compared to all schools and not to similar schools, they will appear to improve faster.

myth 6

There have only been results for the last two years for most sponsored primary academies. The initial indication is that the smaller increase is a 1st year effect, probably due to the distraction of becoming an academy. Beyond the 1st year, the two types of schools appear to increase at similar rates.

More at: http://bit.ly/SponSlow

Myth 7: Academy chains are generally high performing and a route to success

A Department for Education report published in Spring 2015 compared the value added in the largest 20 academy chains with that of 100 local authorities.

  • Of the 20 chains, only 3 had a value added that was above the national average of 1000.

  • Even the two best performing chains (ARK and Harris) were outperformed by 8 local authorities.

  • ON the combined list of 120 LAs and academy chains, there are just 3 chains in the top 50 but 15 chains in the bottom 50.

While the government, and their supporters, like to talk of “high performing chains” there are only actually two academy chains that fit that description. The vast majority are producing results that are below average, by the DfE’s own analysis.

More at: http://bit.ly/DismalChains

Myth 8: Sponsored academies are particularly successful at helping disadvantaged students

The Sutton Trust report Chains Effects 2015 makes clear that there are serious problems with many of the academy chains: “far from providing a solution to disadvantage, a few chains may be exacerbating it”. – See more at: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/07/are-academy-chains-harming-the-progress-of-disadvantaged-pupils/#sthash.fuBUKWi4.dpuf

The conclusions are stark: While there are some chains demonstrating “impressive outcomes”, “a larger group of low-performing chains are achieving results that are not improving and may be harming the prospects of their disadvantaged students”.

More at: http://bit.ly/AcadHarm

Myth 9: Sponsored academies lead to more pupils taking traditional subjects, like languages and humanities.

Students in sponsored academies are far less likely to achieve a history or geography GCSE. The graph below compares all sponsored academies to all maintained schools. But the same is true when comparing “underperforming” sponsored academies to similar maintained schools (both having 2012 GCSE benchmarks between 20% and 40%) or comparing those with the most disadvantaged intakes (only those with 40% or more on free school meals).

The same is true for languages. Students are less likely to take a language GCSE if they are in a sponsored academy – both overall, and when compared to similar schools.

It is not the case that students in lower achieving schools, that become academies, are being transformed by new opportunities to take core academic subjects. Students in these academies are significantly less likely to get a C or better in a language or a humanity GCSE.

More at: http://bit.ly/AcadHisGeo (analysis was in 2014 on 2013 GCSE results)

Myth 10: Independent research supports government claims for academy performance

You know that somebody is losing the argument when they fall back on the work done by Stephen Machin and colleagues at LSE. The most recent data used by Machin was for 2008, and so the analysis only reflects the performance of the early Labour academies. Machin himself has made clear that it is “hard to justify” the use of his research by the government for its very different academies. Indeed he called it a “step too far”.

In contrast independent bodies have generally disputed any claims of better academy performance:

  • The Sutton Trust (above) warned that low performing chains may be harming the performance of disadvantaged students.
  • The Conservative-chaired Education Select Committee report on Academies and Free Schools found no evidence of better academy performance. It stated “Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling school“ and added that “the Government should stop exaggerating the success of academies”. More at http://bit.ly/PriAcad
  • NFER in 2014 concluded: “no significant improvement is seen in the rate of improvement of GCSE results for academy schools over and above the rate of improvement in all schools”.

Conclusion

None of the claims of government ministers for the better performance of sponsored academies stand up to scrutiny. In contrast what the data tends to reveal is that maintained schools are actually performing very well.

There is no basis or justification in the data for the forced academisation of the Education and Adoption Bill.

The key amendment is the one put by Labour at the committee reading, that only academy chains with a successful track record should be allowed to take on new “inadequate” or “coasting” schools. It should be hard to argue that struggling schools should only be taken over by those chains that are successful. But the Bill, because of the large number of schools set to be converted, means that many will be taken over by unsuccessful or overstretched chains.

Notes

Click through the links for details of the data that the analysis is based on, including where to download it.

Note 1: Local Schools Network has been publishing this analysis since January 2012. While the DfE has sometimes sought to use different interpretations, or data from different periods (often not in the public domain), it has never challenged any of the numerical analysis we have published.

Note 2: All of this data relates to sponsored academies. These were generally previously “underperforming” schools that were converted to academies with a sponsor. Converter academies are schools that were generally “Good” or “Outstanding” and chose to convert to become academies. The focus here is on sponsored academies is because that is the focus of the Education Bill. The key question addressed in this paper is whether a struggling school will improve more if it remains in the maintained sector or of it becomes an academy.

Contact Details Henry Stewart can be contacted on henry@happy.co.uk,or on Twitter:  @happyhenry 

References and Further Reading:

This is Undeniable Evidence that Academisation has Failed.

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Academisation is Failing – Now Evidence is Undeniable

There is mounting evidence that Academisation is failing.  Recently the South Shore Academy in Blackpool was blasted by OFSTED as inadequate. This is sponsored by the Bright Futures Academy Chain. Schools are being forced to convert to Academies against the will of parents or staff. Clive Lewis (Labour MP, Norwich South) has opposed the plans  of Inspiration Trust Academy Chain to takeover the Hewett School in Norwich.

Who is sponsoring the Academisation of schools? The Guardian list.

Today is the last date at which evidence can be submitted. The Public Bill Committee for the Education and Adoption Bill has requested written evidence. This Committee’s stops accepting written evidence today (14 July).  Teachers know that controversial announcements for changes in education policy are always buried in the summer holidays. The powers-that-be think it will be all forgotten by September.

Henry Stewart, Local Schools’ Network has collated data which shows very clearly that schools which are sponsored academies are much more likely to subsequently be found inadequate following OFSTED inspections. The data currently is confined to sponsored academies in the secondary sector because there is currently insufficient data from primary sponsored academies to collate significant results. But there is no reason to suppose that this would indicate a different trend.

A secondary school is twice as likely to stay 

inadequate if it is a sponsored academy 

Likelihoo-to-become-inadequate Further information and analysis of these statistics which have been collated from OFSTED reports is presented in Henry Stewart’s Report in Local Schools Network

In summary:

    • If a secondary  school is rated Requires Improvement, it is over twice as likely to become Inadequate if it is a Sponsored Academy 
    • If a secondary school is rated Good, it is almost four times as likely to become Inadequate if it is a Sponsored Academy
    • If a secondary school is rated Outstanding, it is almost three times as likely to become Inadequate if it is a Sponsored Academy

Ideology or Evidence?

“Converter academies, schools that were already Good or Outstanding, do not appear to have the same problem. The higher likelihood to stay or become inadequate is specific to sponsored academies. However this is the academy model that is being proposed for “inadequate” or “coasting” schools under the Education Bill.

The evidence seems to indicate that, in terms of Ofsted rating, a school is more likely to improve and less likely to stay or become inadequate if it is not a sponsored academy. This may be because most sponsored academies are part of academy chains, whose problems are clear from DfE data. With only 4 of the 20 biggest chains showing above average results, in terms of value added, the solution of giving an “underperforming” school to a chain needs to be closely examined.

The Bill now goes to the Education Select Committee. Let’s hope that they choose to base their view on the evidence and not on ideology.”

These findings match those of the National Audit Office which found informal interventions such as local support for schools in difficulties were more effective than formal interventions such as academy conversions.

Clearly, the agenda to date has never been about improvement in schools, and even more worrying is, because of that there is little concern for the children and individuals whose lives are affected. It has always been ideological, about privatisation. The conflict of interest engendered by whole scale privatisation is evident. Competition between schools results in their isolation, and centralised  services supporting  special needs such as CAMHS , SEN, home tutors are lost. Schools work better in LEAs or teacher managed consortia, not privatised businesses.

Academy School blasted as inadequate by OFSTED Inspection. #NoAcademisation

The Blackpool Gazette reports on  the recent OFSTED inspection of an Academy School sponsored by Bright Futures Academy Chain.

In a damning report, Ofsted rated South Shore Academy in St Annes Road, South Shore, as one of the most underperforming schools on the Fylde coast.

The May inspection called leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils as inadequate – the worst grading.

Worries were raised about teaching, safety and the poor behaviour of pupils – with one inspector adding the academy’s current curriculum does not prepare them properly for modern life in Britain.

The school, led by principal Jane Bailey, is now set to be put into special measures after the schools leaders, managers and governors failed to secure improvements.In an eight page report, Ofsted inspectors raised concerns about ineffective leadership, inadequate teaching, low attendance in Year 11, disruption in lessons and the academy building not being fit for purpose.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden (Labour Party) added: “I am very concerned, both for the families with students at the school and students themselves at this particularly strong Ofsted report which at the time of the inspection judged the academy as being inadequate in most of its categories.

“This should be a wake-up call to central government to make sure the model going forward is one of collaboration and working closely with the local community and not being dictated to by Whitehall. 

The Conservative government’s policy of  Academisation isolates schools from specialised support services, and increases competition between schools rather than advocating co-oeration and shared professionalism among educationalists.

Isolation increases the difficulties caused by social deprivation and cuts to public services.  Pitching school against school, and child against child can only exacerbate issues of concern. Schools need to work together in LEAS or teacher-led consortia for mutual benefit. There is increasing evidence that the Academisation programme does not improve learning and is another screen for privatisation of public services.  

Clive Lewis , Labour MP from Norwich South  criticises Academy chain Inspiration Trust and proposed  forced takeovers in his maiden speech in Parliament.

“Not content with taking over our schools and giving parents no say in their children’s education, they crave ever more power and wealth,” he told the Commons.

“Now they want to take from the people of Norwich, the Hewett local authority school and the £60m pounds of land it sits on – land that belongs to the people of our city.

Our schools are not businesses, our children are not commodities, our future is not to be traded. The Academisation programme must stop now, and Labour’s policy must oppose it and offer an alternative and inclusive education policy. Education is not about individuals, it is about everyone and for our mutual benefit.

Gove Versus Reality

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Michael Gove doesn’t need to listen to experts or tell the truth.  His aim is not to improve education.  His task is to parallel that of the reorganisation of the NHS .. the ultimate aim of both being to funnel public funds, straight into the pockets of the private sector.  By creating chaos and debilitating State education/NHS, he/they hope to persuade the general public (without triggering a revolution) that the profit-making private sector must be brought in to rescue the system.  Assets like school buildings, playing fields, hospitals are silently taken away from public control and handed over to unelected and unaccountable bodies.  This is a return to the days of primary accumulation, or as Marx preferred to call it, Looting!

Gove Versus Reality

Gove Versus Reality looks at the policies pursued by Michael Gove for his radical and draconian transformation of the English education system challenging his assumptions and the evidence he advances to support his approach.

 

 

The Secrets of Finances of Academy Schools

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The Secrecy of Finances of Academy Schools 

From @Earwiggle

Beneficiaries of Coalition policies are increasingly topical in the News, and recently we have heard of Cameron’s adviser Lynton Crosby’s involvement wiith the fracking industry and tobacco firms. When questioned, Cameron repeatedly attempts to evade the issue. While the press reports of “NHS” reforms and “Education Choice” as policies which are intent in improving public services, the reality is become clear. The Coalition is intent on stripping public assets. Services would continue to be funded by public money, but, open to profiteering – privatisation. Repeatedly, the monitoring methods are manipulated, and services starved of funds to give credence to the outdated idea of private good: public bad.

Head-teachers bought into the idea that schools should convert to Academy status because of financial incentives. In May 2012 overpayment to Academy Schools by £120 million pounds was revealed. A fair system should ensure that funds for education is distributed fairly, for all children. Certainly, funds intended for education should benefit the learners. But money intended for this purpose is benefitting the directors of Academy trusts as the Guardian reports..

The country’s largest taxpayer-funded academy chain, which was recently criticised for its poor performance in managing schools, has paid nearly £500,000 into the private business interests of its trustees and executives.

An investigation by the Observer has uncovered a series of payments over the past three years to companies in which those running the Academy Enterprise Trust (AET), a registered charity, have a beneficial interest. The payments were for services ranging from “project management” to “HR consultancy”, according to the academy chain’s company accounts. AET, which is based in Essex, has not provided further details. In all the cases the services had not been put out to competitive tender.

Ian Comfort, who has been company secretary since April 2012, was paid £232,960 in addition to his undisclosed salary for project management services that year.

A series of payments to AET’s trustees have also been revealed. Such payments, while legal, are described as “not normal practice” in a document published by the regulator of academies this month, and drawn up following consultation with the Charity Commission.

Henry Stewart reminds us how David Cameron promised that academy finances would be freely available to parents. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) demanded data showing academy level expenditure. But go to the DfE Performance Tables and you will find full financial information for maintained schools and nothing comparable for academies. Local Schools Network For maintained schools simply go to the DfE Performance Tables, (type in your post code and you will find comprehensive information for your local schools.)

Cameron:

We need to see how much money is going into schools

This is a direct contradiction of the statement that David Cameron made to the House of Commons Liaison Committee in March 2013 in response to questioning by Margaret Hodge, as Fiona Millar wrote about at the time

Hodge: “Take the case of academies . How do we know they provide value for money?”

Cameron: “People can increasingly see the funding per pupil that goes into the school and if we are successful in introducing a more national funding formula for schools that will be even clearer. The parent/teacher /local community knows how much follows the pupil into the school and can then see the results. We need to see how much money going into the schools and the results coming out. This will produce results for very transparent amounts of money that are going in.”

As citizens, who employ a government to serve us, we have a right to know exactly what is happening to public funds. This selective secrecy implies corruption. Furthermore, the repeated evasion of honesty by the prime-minister, when confronted by questions related to issues conflicts-of-interests is totally unacceptable, and parliament must address the issue. The Labour Party must demand answers.

It is time to show we have no confidence in this government and put it to the vote in the House of Commons. Who would support this corruption?

References and Further Reading:

For the Benefit of the Conservative Party – “FOR SALE – Local Hospital and Schools “

For Sale – Hospitals and Schools 

For the Benefit of the Conservative Party

It is a testament to the Labour movement that ordinary people accept the norm that they have a right to education and free health care. Indeed, it is such an intrinsic part of their lives, that many have become complacent, younger generations almost believing it was always thus, when in fact this has all happened within living memory, and can be forgotten just as quickly.

 Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand entrusted with power becomes, either form human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity” (1)

So while, we go about ordinary lives, quietly, innocently even, working, bringing up families… a government without a majority is taking advantage, by stealth.

Health:

Reports show more hospitals are  considering private ownership. My own local hospital  is Weston General Hospital.  “Weston Area Health NHS Trust has announced that, as a small DGH (district general hospital), it is unable to achieve the Foundation Trust status that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) mandates that all NHS acute (hospital) Trusts must achieve by April next year. As a result, it is inviting ’expressions of interest’ from the ‘health market’:

The Guardian has reported how conditions in private hospitals  have deteriorated so much that NHS have stooped referring their patients there due to  damning reports on lack of basic hygiene. This is a national scandal and must be halted.

The Mount Alvernia hospital in Surrey, run by BMI Healthcare, one of Britain’s biggest private healthcare providers, agreed to suspend surgery earlier this week after the damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

Care failures cited by the CQC report included a surgeon who operated without gloves in blood-stained shirt sleeves, and a child who was not seen by a paediatrician for seven hours despite their condition deteriorating.

Education

The Coalition’s practice to ensure privatisation  is to force schools to become academies, either by bribery of head teachers, of unjustified OFSTED criticism, claiming schools are failing. 

The Local Schools’s Network reports how individuals have been able to benefit at least half a million pounds and probably much more, while those working with children see their pay frozen. Such “consultants” can set up lucrative businesses, for example a Ms Griffin, in which she is listed as a consultant at the DFE and a Director of Griffin Taylor Consultancy Ltd.  And here is some information about her company’s financial position.  As it is an exempt small company, with only two directors, facts are limited but one thing seems clear, the DFE consultancy business is a very comfortable one.

Some schools who have had experience of such pressure have taken the alternative option to form co-operative schools rather than to hand over such assets to private companies. Local Schools should be run as consortia, working together, not competing for profits and results.. schools should be about children, and their needs.  Furthermore, Harold Wilson’s Open University was intended to provide access to life-long learning for all, and not to be subject to unaffordable tuition fees as introduced by the Coalition.

What we see happening is privatization of the NHS and state education, owned by us, you, me, and were intended for future generations. These are services built by thousands of working people: teachers, lecturers, nurses, midwives, doctors, cleaners, construction workers, electricians, IT specialists, cooks – those who are seeing job cuts and wages frozen. Now these precious state assets have become a source of income for friends and contributors to the Conservative Party via Hedge Funds.

It is a myth that private outperforms public. How do you measure performance of organizations such as the NHS or state education – by a healthy, well educated, highly skilled and employed workforce – or by the off shore bank balance of Conservative friends? The newly privatized organizations are answerable to their owners, not their users, their workers, or citizens contributing to society for mutual benefit, whatever their skills are.

The evidence shows a deterioration in quality, where the profit motive is a priority.  Labour must commit to a reversal of privatization of public services, and to bring again into democratic ownership and control, our essential utilities and public transport.  We must ensure that such services are exempt from US Trade agreements, and this is a platform on which Labour can challenge the likes of UKIP.

Please sign this petition to exempt the NHS, and support the challenge to exempt education too.

After all, the purpose of government is to assist people in achieving a civilized society, and to allow all that live in that society. It’s not just to line their own pockets. It’s time to put an end to it, if it’s not too late.

Gove’s Selective Truth. , Finland’s education success was because they BANNED private schools.

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At the very least, Michael Gove is selective with the truth. Deviously and deceptively he has pursued a campaign to demolish state education. (1) Ambitious for a five year parliament, he hopes the speed of his changes (2) will ensure they are permanent, schools ensnared in long term contracts. We observe school-bully tactics and, where sweeteners did not work, Gove forcibly ensured the conversion to Academies.

No longer does the public believe him, and recent polls (YouGov) YouGov Education and Skills show confidence declining. The conservatives led on Education in January and are now 10 points behind Labour. (24 % compared with 34% Labour)

Early in this parliament, Gove instigated visits to observe the highly performing Finnish Education system regarded as one of the best in the world. Subsequently, the Finnish free-school model was included in the government’s white paper. Simultaneously, the media continued to drive home the message of failing schools, and sell us the Academy argument, veiling the truth of the plan to privatise.

What was obvious to observers who visited Finland is how teaching is regarded as one of the most prestigious careers, along with medicine and law. Children enjoyed learning. They were allowed to develop interest are not constantly jumping through the hoops of competition, which achieves nothing but to label children as failures. Education provision for sick children is enabled by technology. There is a lot of snow in Finland, but children unable to get to school can still access lessons. Gove’s policies are hitting the education of sick children in the UK (3) harder than ever.

Finnish communities differed than British towns, where contrasting affluent and less affluent residential areas demonstrate the inequality in our society. Inequality is perpetuated because of the power exercised by a privileged minority, products of a private education system.

“Finland’s educational system. Fascinating thing about three decades ago Finland has an educational system that is doing terribly and they look around and they go okay what are we going to do about this, we gotta revamp the whole thing.”

Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss the revolutionary educational system Finland has instituted and the results of that system on the education of their children. Read more about it here (4), (5)

Every child in Finland must have access to good schools. Having a parallel private and state schools prevents this. There can be no true comprehensive school system while the elitist private school system exists. It was a brave decision to make it illegal to charge for education in Finland. Banning private education should improve education for all children. (6), (7)

Local Schools Network: Would Abolishing Private Education improve Education for All?

In mentioning the revered the Finnish system in his white paper, Gove omits to state the most obvious factors.

  1. Privately funded education is banned in Finland.
  2. The emphasis is on equality, and not excellence.
  3. There is no standardised testing until 16.
  4. Competition is frowned upon.
  5. Children are encouraged to follow their interests, and develop their skills, rather than forced to follow a homogenised curriculum devised by governments.
  6. Teachers are well paid, well qualified and respected in the community.

Without supporting evidence , Mr Gove’s justification for his changes were that the education system was failing. This demonstrates more deceit.

In January 2011 he said, “In the last ten years, we have plummeted in the world rankings from 4th to 16th for science, 7th to 25th for literacy and 8th to 28th for maths. These are facts from which we cannot hide.”

Yet, recent reports assess the UK Education system as sixth in the world (8), but this is unlikely to feature on Mr Gove’s press release.

Any educationalist knows that competition kills learning. What it does facilitate is a means to ensure to the privileged few prosper. The furore which followed the fiasco of the GCSE English results, demonstrates how Gove plans for more children to fail.The European Baccalaureate is examined at 18, but Gove’s Bac is proposed at 16. The recent introduction of the English Baccalaureate concentrates on core subjects of English, Maths, Science, a foreign language and humanities. Creative subjects are sidelined. Teachers must be allowed to focus on the children they teach, not tables and achievement targets.

go-away-Gove-its-our-school

Mr Gove, please can we have our schools back? And most important of all, our children?

  1. Academisation and the Demolition of our Education System
  2. New Statesman: Why whirlwind Gove is acting so fast.
  3. Academisation and the Neglect of Sick Children
  4. The Atlantic: What American Schools keep ignoring about Finnish Schools Success
  5. Video on Finnish Education system by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian
  6. Local Schools Network: Would abolishing private schools improve education of all our children?
  7. Video Excerpt from talk by Pasi Sahlberg in the House of Commons. Sahlberg is, as his website tells us, Director General of CIMO in Helsinki, Finland.
  8. Local Schools Network: UK is 6th in international education league
  9. Local Schools Network: Where is the evidence of Private Sector Delivery?