Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://archive.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/767/16789

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 May 2013

This is what's 'not to like' about Free Schools, Boris

Martin Powell-Davies, National Union of Teachers executive (personal capacity)

Tory London mayor Boris Johnson, writing in the London Evening Standard, attempted to portray opposition to 'Free Schools' as some kind of 'left-wing conspiracy'.

No, it is mayor Johnson and his government colleagues who are the ones putting ideology before needs.

They are the ones insisting that the critical lack of school places in London has to be addressed through a patchwork of privatised Free Schools instead of urgent investment in well-constructed and democratically planned local authority community schools.

The mayor claims that the Tories' plans to meet the estimated shortfall of 118,000 pupil places in London through Free Schools compares to the school-building programme in the capital at the end of the 19th century.

Yes, the late-Victorian era saw major investment in school buildings, and other public services, not least the school board buildings that still stand the test of time today.

Under pressure from a movement that first saw Labour and socialist candidates winning election victories to school boards, they also recognised the benefit of elected local authorities being able to control and plan those resources.

Free Schools come from a very different tradition. They stem from the neoliberal politics of the end of the 20th century, when public services became just another source of rich-pickings for big business.

Short-sighted fat cats, represented by both Tory and New Labour politicians, were driven merely by a desire to make a quick return.

Instead of re-investing profits in production and services, they helped to create the speculative bubble whose implosion has led to the present continuing economic crisis.

In Sweden, one of the first countries to experiment with the Free School model, it has been shown to have had a detrimental effect on education and equality.

Johnson asks in the Standard "what is not to like" about Free Schools. For starters, as in Sweden, they are schools where their owners will be allowed to declare a profit. Education businesses can cut costs to make money out of children's education.

Privatisation free-for-all

Instead of democratically controlled planning of school places, Free Schools will create a chaotic and inefficient free-for-all of private providers.

Instead of government having to properly invest to provide the schools that our children deserve, Free Schools will also be allowed to open in empty offices and other inappropriate provision.

If Boris Johnson really wants to follow the traditions of his Victorian forebears, he should join the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in insisting on proper investment in high-quality schools, not blaming councils for 'red-tape' when they rightly question the appropriateness of some of the plans proposed by prospective Free School providers.

The mayor tries to hide the truth of Tory cuts and penny-pinching by pointing to the extra £982 million in 'targeted basic need' funds being provided to help boroughs set up new schools.

Yet London councils have written to Michael Gove explaining that the allocation is totally inadequate and based on a funding formula that ignores the high cost of land and building in the capital.

London councils estimate that they require an additional £1.04 billion if they are to provide the places needed by 2015-16.

Against the background of huge cuts to council budgets, this figure cannot be found - unless the government provides the necessary investment from central funds.

Of course, instead of just complaining about the cuts, councillors should be joining trade unions and communities in a mass campaign to win the resources needed to protect and provide public services.

So yes, Boris, it is high time to 'put aside politics and open the schools we need'. Instead of your ideological insistence on privatised Free Schools, London councils require the funding - just a small fraction of the billions swilling around the City of London every day - to plan and build the schools we urgently need.

Martin is the Local Associations National Action Campaign candidate for NUT vice-president: electmartin1.blogspot.co.uk

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 29 May 2013:


Scrap the Bedroom tax

Evict this millionaires' government

Campaign to stop bedroom tax evictions!


Socialist Party editorial

No to terrorism! No to racism! No to war!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite to fight racism!

Even the cutters say cuts aren't working!

This is what's 'not to like' about Free Schools, Boris

Nasty party exposed by equal marriage bill

Stop the NHS privatisation rip-off


Socialist Party review

Rotten greedy banks still threaten crisis


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference sends defiant message to the government

PCS Land Registry delegates commit to action

Strike action needed to save Royal Mail

Wales TUC conference - a missed opportunity

No future with Future Directions

Fire service cuts

Workplace News in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey TUSC: trade unions and communities prepare for 2014

'Brilliant' South West conference sees record turnout

Fund the fightback in the SP collectathon

Boosting South West Wales paper sales

Socialist Party youth organisers meeting Sunday 30 June, 10.30am-4.30pm, London


International socialist news and analysis

Oppose Kazakhstan regime's latest campaign clampdown

South Africa: Eye-witness to the developing struggle

Riots expose inequality in Sweden

Sri Lanka: Working class beginning to move forward


Socialist Students

Salford Socialist Students help lead fightback against job and course cuts

London students fight union closure plan


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 May 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Schools:

trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

triangleCovid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

triangleUnion action needed for Covid safety

triangleCricket's history of racism and elitism

Free Schools:

triangleStrikes are how to fight for state education

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleCuts leave schools unable to meet basic needs

triangleAcademies mired in debt and corruption

School:

triangleNEU strike at girls' school chain over pensions

triangleSchool students strike in Austria

triangleOaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions

London:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Crisis in the Ukraine

triangleLondon Socialist Party women's meeting

Education:

triangleFighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

Cuts:

triangleSurrey: Unions and campaigns say stand as an anti-cuts candidate

Boris Johnson:

triangleShameless Johnson partied through lockdown

NUT:

triangleMartin Powell-Davies for NEU DGS: "We need to use our collective strength"

Martin Powell-Davies:

triangleSocialist Party in Education: Public zoom meeting

23/2/22

Workers

The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

23/2/22

Birmingham

Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington

23/2/22

Unite

Unite and fight for a decent pay rise

23/2/22

NHS

Privatisation and crisis in the NHS

23/2/22

Covid

Johnson scraps Covid safety measures

23/2/22

Britain

Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

23/2/22

Bus

Bus services under threat

16/2/22

PCS

PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership

16/2/22

Britain

Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery

16/2/22

Covid

Covid: Fight for full sick pay

16/2/22

Coventry

'Labour by name - Tory by policy'

16/2/22

Taxes

Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'

16/2/22

Labour

Left Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington

16/2/22

London

Neither Washington, London nor Moscow

16/2/22

Police

Met police boss ousted

triangleMore articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999