Selling education by the pound

After the strenuous effort of laying into Blair in my last piece I’m rather too tired to go for mcuh more in the way of spittle-flecked invective, deserved as it is by the government’s education white paper other than to note that I would have rather in not be printed in its glossy format but on something rather softer and more absorbant – at least then I could find a use for it.

So, you’ll have to do with a few links instead as there’s much good stuff to be found at the moment by Bob Piper, Militant Pine Martin and Rhetorically Speaking.

Meanwhile Ekklesia notes that amongst the expected early takers for running trust schools are:

“the Church of England, the Microsoft Corporation, the Open University and the Peabody Trust. Jewish and Muslim groups are also looking at the plans.”

while

“The Christian group the United Learning Trust, which is already the largest single sponsor of schools in the academy programme, has confirmed that it is in talks with one local authority about taking on eight or nine state schools.”

An interesting point to note about this trust, and its parent trust the United Church Schools Trust is that where the parent trusts charitable objects are scrupulously neutral:

“To provide in England and Wales, by the establishment and maintenance of schools, a liberal, practical, and general education for children and adults of all ages and both sexes and otherwise to promote the establishment and maintenance of schools conducted, or to be conducted, by any charitable institution”

Those of the United Learning Trust, which operates City Academies, contain specific provisions for the delivery of ‘religious instruction in the doctrine and duties of Christianity’.

It’s also worth noting the staggering sums of money – by typical charity standards – being funnelled into these two trusts.

UCST’s annual income has doubled (and then some) since 1997, from around £17 million to over £39 million, while ULT, which run 6 City Academies, has gone from went from an income of £4 million in its first year (2002/3) to £41 million in its second year (2003/4) – there’s definitely gold in them thar’ academies.

One has to wonder if proposals to set up a Marxist City Academy would be met with quite the same degree of enthusiasm by Blair and his god-bothering upper middle class mates.

The Antonio Gramsci City Academy – specialising in cultural studies – has quite a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

  • I’d rather have the Errico Malatesta City Academy specialising in cultural studies, languages, and design technology. It could send kids on lots of foreign trips.

  • Well, at least you’d be able to set up a school named after, and ideologically consistent with Antonio Gramsci after these reforms – assuming enough others were interested, of course.