This government is systematically dismantling public control of education through its ruthless academies and free schools programme. Some parents and teachers have organised to stop individual schools falling into the hands of academy chains but for the most part the destruction of state education has progressed unopposed. We must look to our own organisations and ask, ‘why have we let this happen?’
Their success in seizing our assets has meant that now more than 50% of secondary schools have been effortlessly hijacked by academy chains. We have watched as corruption and profiteering became rife. Within academy chains it is not hard to find lavish expenses, dodgy accounting and huge salaries. For example, the BBC has this piece, about an academy chain that laughably calls itself a charity.
Our vision for education seems almost old fashioned by contrast. We demand that workers have control of their education institutions, that teachers control the curriculum and that schools and education are not up for sale. There is strong opposition from the Campaign for State Education and by the Anti-Academies Alliance but it will not be enough to stop the complete demise of everything we have won over the past three hundred years.
The fight against academies and free schools can unite education workers to oppose the nonsense in Gove’s impoverished new curriculum and another year of wage cuts. All these fights are linked. It is either our collective control or a neoliberal free market – there is no happy medium.