Archive | March 16, 2016

U.K. to Privatise ALL State Schools in England*

U.K. to Privatise ALL State Schools in England*

By James Wright

The Conservatives are set to force every mainstream school in England to become an academy, reports the BBC.

When schools become academies the property deeds are handed over at no cost to unaccountable academy chains. Often, the ownership of the public land, institutions and school equipment is entirely transferred to the private sector.

This wholesale move to academies amounts to a sweeping privatisation of our schools.

Ultimately this will result in huge sums of money being transferred from the taxpayer to the unaccountable private sector, through under-the-radar profiteering. The beneficiaries also happen to be brimming with Tory party donors and members of the House of Lords. This money is being extracted from our children’s education.

What are academies?

Academies are directly funded by central government but may be topped up by corporate sponsors; whereas comprehensive public schools are funded by and made accountable to local government.

While academies may be funded by the state, they are now owned by private sector interest.

Academies were introduced by New Labour, but increased exponentially throughout the coalition and the current administration. As of March 2016, 5,170 state schools (about a quarter) had transitioned to academies.

From 2010 to the present, schools have been allowed to become academies if they ‘voluntarily choose to’. However this choice is not as voluntary as the Tories make out. From 2010, the government cut the education budget by 25% over four years. At the same time, they told schools that they will award them £25,000 and increase their budget by up to 10% if they become academies. Thus, schools do not choose to become academies because they believe they are better, but to survive arbitrary austerity conditions imposed by the government.

Academies transfer power from local governments to the schools themselves, which then set the budget and make the rules.

Why turn schools into academies?

Supporters say that academies reduce bureaucracy and upgrade standards by giving more power to the schools themselves. Johnathon Clifton, the associate director for the Institute for Public Policy research, writes:

“The academies programme gives schools, teachers and education experts the freedom to work out how best to raise pupil outcomes.”

Yet the Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan doesn’t seem bothered by who gets these powers:

“I don’t mind if they’re scientists, businesspeople…or nuns. I want to give them greater freedom and flexibility, more control and creativity.”

According to Morgan, literally anyone will improve our education system with a splash of creativity. Perhaps that’s why we see adverts that say “education experience is not essential” for £160,000 a year jobs running academy chains. Apparently, you do not even need experience in your field to earn more than the Prime Minister. This ad is indicative of a sharp rise in unqualified staff in academised secondary schools. The move to academies takes power away from democratic local government and does not even hand it to others based on merit.

One would be right in thinking that this is a huge gamble on British children’s education. Quality of teaching is surely the most important factor in school performance.

Sneaky profiteering on the back of the taxpayer

The government will maintain that these academy chains have no way to make money, but this is disingenuous.

‘Top slicing’

‘Top slicing’ is used by numerous of the largest academy chains to extract profits disguised as executive salaries. In Yorkshire alone, and as of only 2013, academy chains had leeched £9m from schools in the county. Several so-called chief executives take home gut-wrenching six-figure salaries at the expense of the children at the schools.

This is a trend across the country. These academy chains are listed as non-profit charities- because they don’t have shareholders, but are in fact using taxpayer funds to make huge profits, with some senior staff on £200,000 or more. As blogger Another Angry Voice writes, these are essentially ‘insider dividends’ to get around the ‘charities can’t have shareholders’ problem.

Remember that these eye-watering salaries are awarded by so-called ‘charities’ that run academy chains and overseen by the Conservative government. The very same government that is imposing a relentless austerity programme on the rest of the country. An austerity programme that has been used to take free school meals from children, mobility scooters and support from disabled people, and cripple the NHS and welfare system.

It is flabbergasting to compare these extortionate taxpayer handouts to the salaries of the teachers who are actually doing the work. In the name of austerity, teachers have only been awarded a “miserly” 1% pay rise, which is way behind inflation.

This is especially infuriating when one considers the following: Increasing the pay and qualifications of teachers is the real way to improve education. Teachers should be paid highly, respected and required to be very well qualified. Becoming a teacher would then be competitive because many people seek well respected and well paid jobs. The public education system would then improve rapidly. This is what we see in top quality education systems, like Finland.


Expenses are the bread and butter of robbing money from the public purse. It is a favourite of entitled MPs themselves.

According to its website, the large academy chain ‘E-act’ runs 23 academies across England with the motto ‘delivering education excellence’. In 2013, the pseudo-charity was criticised for a “culture of extravagant expenses”. These include first class travel and “prestige venues”.

Transfer pricing

Transfer pricing is when two enterprises that are part of the same parent company trade with each other– for example, the U.K.-based subsidiary of Coca-Cola buys something from the Germany-based subsidiary of Coca-Cola. Transfer pricing itself is not necessarily bad, but it can be exploited to avoid tax or to profit from the public sector.

Aurora Academies Trust, which runs four academies in East Sussex with the motto “AAT ensures that the individual child is at the centre of everything we do”, is just one example of this exploitation. The Trust demands that all of its schools use the American ‘Paragon curriculum’ at a cost of £100,000 per year.

This is the very same curriculum patented by its parent company Mosaica Education Inc, representing a direct transfer of £100,000 per year from the British taxpayer to an American company, which now owns our schools. The company is orchestrating a transaction between itself, but using our money to do so.

Profiteering Tory insiders

Many of the beneficiaries of this upcoming wholesale leap to nationwide academy schools will be Tory insiders themselves.

Lord Phillip Harris, an unelected Tory peer, donated £500,000 to the Tories in recent years. He also owns the Harris Federation, which runs 37 primary and secondary academies.

Lord Stanley Fink is on the board of trustees of ARK academies, which runs a network of 34 schools throughout the UK. He has donated a cool £2.6m to the Tory party.

In 2013, the academy chain Future Academies made the headlines for employing a 27-year-old headteacher with no teaching qualifications. The pseudo-charity runs four academies in London and is directed by Tory party donor Lord John Nash.

David Cameron apparently saw no bias at all here and decided to make him Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools in 2013. The above are just a few of the Tory insiders directly benefiting from the transition to academy schools.

The BBC do not point any of this out in their coverage. Perhaps because the person charged with the story – Newsnight policy editor Chris Cook – is a former advisor to Tory minister David Willets on education policy.

At least The BBC notes that the proposals come from the “Conservative-aligned” thinktank The Policy Exchange. Albeit ‘aligned’ may be a bit of an understatement: This thinktank was set up in 2002 by the former Conservative Education Secretary himself – Michael Gove, and the Tory heavyweight Francis Maude.

This sweeping privatisation of our schools will not improve our education system. It will only impair it through unqualified teachers, while bosses and ‘administrative staff’ weasel the taxpayer out of more untold fortunes. This is money that is meant to be invested in our schools and children.

Well-paid and highly qualified teachers are the key to high quality education, not outsourcing responsibility to profit-seeking pseudo-charities.


Related Topics:

U.K. Students Facing Violence, Intimidation and Arrest For Opposing Privatization of their Universities*

Sentenced: Hungarians Used U.K. University Makeshift Brothel*

U.K. Students March for Free Education*

U.K. Fingerprinted over a Million Pupils in Schools without Parental Consent*

U.K. Free School to Close for Allowing God into the Curriculum*

U.K.Arms Maker Enters the Corporate Education Industry*

U.K. Setting Children up for Failure*

U.K. Police Target Schoolchildren as Young as 4 with Tax Payer Funded, Transgender Propaganda*

U.K. State School Pupils ‘get better degrees’ than Private School Pupils with same A-Levels*

U.K. Offers Fast-track for Transgender Teachers and a £30,000 Grant*

U.K. to Put Fluoride in Milk for School Children*

U.K. Secretively Scraps Free Meal Grants for Poorest Primary School Children*

Outrage as U.K.School Calls Police after Pupil Looks at Ukip Website in Class*

U.K. Bill Hands vast Surveillance Powers to Police and Intelligence Agencies*

U.K. Bill Hands vast Surveillance Powers to Police and Intelligence Agencies*

facebookgoogleandyahooareallowingtheciatoaccessuserdataviaaspeciallydesignedinterface-facebookisthemostappallingspyingmachinethathaseverbeeninventedBy Barry Mason

On March 1, Home Secretary Theresa May published the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), known by critics as the “snooper’s charter”.

It enshrines in law the previously hidden mass gathering of Internet data by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spying agency, as exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

The IPB is a far-reaching attack on privacy and democratic rights and greatly enhances the power of the growing surveillance state, as it brings the current diverse rules governing state surveillance into one piece of legislation.

In an unprecedented level of intrusion, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will have to keep records of the browsing history of everyone who accesses the Internet for a period of 12 months. State security forces will have the power to access this data unhindered, which would enable them to see every web site a person visited.

The introduction to the all-embracing bill states its purpose is to:

“Make provision about the interception of communications, equipment interference and the acquisition and retention of communications data, bulk personal datasets and other information; to make provision about the treatment of material held as a result of such interception, equipment interference or acquisition or retention; to establish the Investigatory Powers Commissioner and other Judicial Commissioners and make provision about them and other oversight arrangements; to make further provision about investigatory powers and national security …”

It will establish in law the activities of GCHQ, providing the spy agency with access to all the data travelling on Internet cables passing through U.K. territory, its bulk storage and analysis. GCHQ’s nefarious practices, in which vast amounts of data entering and leaving the U.K. are hoovered up and shared with the U.S. National Security Agency, as revealed by Snowden, will now be given legal sanction.

The IPB grants GCHQ, the National Crime Agency and, for the first time, a number of major police forces, the power to hack into mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets and the licence to carry out non-targeted “mass hacking” of such devices.

The Home Office claim that the police power to hack individuals’ electronic devices dates back to the 1997 Police Act and would, in any case, only be used in “exceptional circumstances”. This is flatly contradicted by the head of the Metropolitan Police technical unit, Paul Hudson, who, in evidence to Parliament’s scrutiny committee, said such powers were used by police “in the majority of serious crime cases”. Hudson refused to provide any further information on his assertion in a public forum.

The Conservative government is allowing the unprecedented state surveillance of citizens on the basis that its snoopers need judicial legislation as well as the say-so of a government minister—the so-called “double lock” system. The double lock was trumpeted by the government as an assurance that the privacy of U.K. citizens would not be violated. This is a fraud.

In effect, the role of the judiciary will be to ensure there is a prima facia case for any hacking and establish that procedures have been followed. Their designated role under the IPB is to merely rubber stamp the minister’s decision, which will be paramount.

Moreover, access to web browsing records by the police and other security forces is totally exempt from the double lock and does not need to be authorised by a minister backed up by a judge.

The IPB also explicitly permits the use of spying techniques to bolster the country’s “economic well-being”, if this is linked to “national security” concerns. This could be widely interpreted to include many events, including industrial action taken by a group of workers.

3fcd8-zbigniew_brezinski-between_two_ages_americas_role_in_the_technotronic_era_1970The IPB has enormous legal implications, as it also undermines confidentiality between lawyers and their clients. Peter Carter QC, chair of the Bar Council Surveillance and Privacy Working Group, in a posting on the PoliticsHome web site on March 3 stated:

The Bill undermines the right to a fair trial because barristers will no longer be able to reassure clients that their communications, which the public interest demands should be immune from state intrusion, are in fact private and confidential. It will, for example, allow authorities to listen in on clients and lawyers who are in the middle of a legal dispute against the Government”.

An attempt by the Tories to introduce the snooper’s charter under the previous Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition was blocked when the Liberal Democrats withdrew support. Immediately following the outcome of the May 2015 election, in which the Tories gained an absolute majority, Home Secretary Theresa May announced her intentions to reintroduce the bill and make it law by the end of 2016.

The government is keen to rush the IPB through Parliament, and hopes to utilise the campaign leading up to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on June 23, in order to minimise public scrutiny of its passage through Parliament.

This has led to criticism even from within the ranks of the Tory party. The Independent newspaper noted February 27,

“The former Tory leadership contender David Davis said there was ‘no doubt’ that the government wanted to rush the Bill through Parliament to avoid scrutiny. Government whips have told Labour that the Bill will be published on 1 March, with a second reading—giving MPs a line-by-line debate on the Bill scheduled for 14 March. The Bill will then go to committee stage from scrutiny on 22 March, with a final vote expected in Parliament by the end of April”.

An open letter, urging the government to delay the bill, published in the Conservative supporting Daily Telegraph, had over 100 signatories including Davis, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, as well as the directors of human rights organisations Amnesty U.K. and Liberty, and leading academics.

The letter does not oppose state spying on the population in principle, stating,

“Intelligence agencies and the police require strong surveillance powers. Their powers and responsibilities—as well as their limits—must be clear to be effective. All three parliamentary reports on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill concluded that it does not meet the requirements of clarity, consistency and coherence”.

The letter states that the “intention to pass the IPB this year is not in the nation’s interest

Big Brother by MeluzzoA draft version of the bill published in November last year was scrutinised by three parliamentary committees, as part of the pre-legislative process. Their concerns and recommendations over privacy implications were supposed to be addressed in the revised March 1 bill.

The most important of these, the Intelligence Services Committee (ISC), produced an 18-page report on the proposed bill. The ISC is tasked with overseeing the work of the intelligence services. It is composed of former ministers, appointed by the prime minister, in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, currently Jeremy Corbyn. Its workings are kept secret, and the prime minister filters its reports to Parliament.

The ISC and the other committees, while critical of the wording and presentation of the IPB, fully support its intentions.

Online IT industry news web site The Register posted a commentary on this fraudulent “scrutiny” process last month, noting, “The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has warned the Government that it needs to make ‘substantive amendments’ to its draft Investigatory Powers Bill, before proceeding to outline changes which don’t appear to be very ‘substantive’ at all”. It described the ISC report as, “essentially a diligence exercise in legislative drafting” that was “largely targeted at the bill’s sloppy and rushed construction … rather than the powers contained therein”.

In response to the feeble treatment from the bodies ostensibly charged with scrutinising the bill, the Home Office did nothing more than add the single word, “privacy” to the title of Part 1 of the bill, and sent it back to be passed into legislation.


Related Topics:

Fears of a British Policed State Rising Midst the Elite Paedophile Scourge*

U.K. Elections Rigged!?*

Ballot Rigging in the U.K.*

Quest to Kill Human Rights Act in U.K.*

U.K.’s “Anti-extremism” Plan Brings Repression at Home and War Abroad*

U.K. Magistrate Resigns over New Court Fee that Forces Innocent to Plead Guilty’*

The U.K. Establishment Toppling the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn*

U.K. City Installs ‘Giant Eyes’ to Spy on Citizens*

U.K. to Blanket City Streets with Wi-Fi via “Smart Pavement”*

Boundary Changes in U.K. will Swing in Favour of Current Regime*

U.K. Police Will be able to View Your Entire Internet History’*

Police Accountability App Launches in U.K.*

A Self-Described Passionate Zionist in Charge of U.K. Government Cybersecurity*

Hackers Trace 3 ISIS Twitter Accounts ‘back to U.K. Govt Computers,’*

U.K. Ground Foot Soldiers, the Social Services to Run the NHS*

U.K. GPs to Gather Info on Sick Patients for the State*

U.K. to Ban ‘Boycott Israel’*

U.S. and U.K. Flagrant Abuse of Int’l Law*

Outrage as U.K.School Calls Police after Pupil Looks at Ukip Website in Class*

Pegida-U.K. — Smoke, Mirrors and Zionism*