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Grantham Journal column:

By Peter Clawson

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

Ever since the Tories hijacked Labour’s basically honest but misguided policy of converting state schools into academies, I have been suspicious of the government’s motives.

As part of Lincolnshire, Grantham has been at the forefront of the academy revolution pilot scheme and I am sure that local participants have nothing but high hopes for education in general.

But after watching a television expose of similar schools in America, my misgivings have increased.

So-called Charter schools across the pond seem frighteningly like our academies to me.

They started off all very innocently, run by teachers, parents, charities and not-for-profit organisations, but since then, as so often happens in the money mad world of the much vaunted American dream, the more sinister side of the situation took over.

Suddenly governors of individual schools began to include people like hedge fund bosses, fat cats and business moguls. Private companies made lucrative offers to manage increasingly large groups of them.

Profit motives soared, standards dropped and the crisis for parents, teachers and pupils reached such proportions that a nationwide protest was launched to try to combat the corruption which was becoming apparent.

Worse still the private gain grabbers realised the financial value to be had for them from organising more and more tests at early ages and the appetite for such stressful activities rocketed as it appears to be doing here.

Obviously it is not for me to suggest that our government is deliberately following the American examples simply to make money for their cronies in the private sector.

However, while I cannot accuse our education moguls of such wholesale corruption, I must say I do believe our version of the Charter schools or academy scam is as much privatisation by stealth as Labour were ever accused ofin days gone by. It takes one to know one, doesn’t it?


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