Commenting after the debate on academies and free schools, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers? union, said;
?There can be no justification for the systematic dismantling of the English education system that we are currently witnessing. We cannot allow something as vital as a free and fair education for all to slip through our fingers unnoticed. The consequences will be extraordinarily damaging never mind unmanageable.
?The general mood in the country is not supportive of the academies and free schools programme. Evidence does not show that they will raise standards. It is only through bribery and coercion that many local authorities and schools have had to accept academy status against their wishes. This is a dreadful waste of money and public resources.
?Free schools are creating a market of competing schools that threatens to destabilise existing school provision. They are also creating wasteful surplus places at a time when school budgets are under significant pressure.
?Separating schools from local authorities, and handing them over to unaccountable, unelected sponsors is establishing a market place in which schools compete for pupils and funding. Strengthening the powers of the Secretary of State and Whitehall officials to determine the future of schools are the preparatory steps to full scale privatisation of our education system.
?The NUT will continue to campaign against this unwanted and unnecessary reform programme. This folly is being funded by tax payers? money without any clear mandate. National policy of Liberal Democrats is to oppose these changes.
We are in real danger of losing a coherent strategy for education provision in this country.
It is time politicians from all parties woke up to this fact and stood up to Government to stop this programme. There is an alternative. Good local schools operating under the umbrella of the local authority is what we need if we are to deliver a fair and accountable education for every child.
For further details contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061