Greedy investors have their sights set on making money out of the £53 billion UK budget for state education, and they intend to do this by making ‘efficiencies’. Education is being privatised and our schools are at risk of being run for profit.
I followed a link on Twitter from @Brixtonite this afternoon. Here is the tweet…
The link takes you here. It is an announcement to investors by the education consultancy Wey Education that they have won a contract to run a school in Mauritius. Scroll down and beneath the announcement is a company summary that includes the following statement:
‘The Company will concentrate on becoming a leading education company focusing on providing a single solution to schools. Wey is responding to the English market opportunity brought about by the transfer of state-run schools to independent charitable entities and the deconstruction of the education function within local authorities. Within the 53 billion pound English education system, the standards achieved by pupils and the rounded quality of the education they receive need to be significantly improved. Additionally the evidential efficiencies that can be made in the operation of schools combine to make a clear opportunity to make a substantial return to investors and improve education in the UK.’
Urgh! indeed. On its homepage in soft-focus pastel letters Wey Education claims that it exists ‘to create a better path for schools, children and parents; to raise the standard of education, providing measurable results in an education environment’. But it is as clear as day from their announcements to investors that what Wey Education is actually about is exploiting our schools for financial gain.
A quick google search for Wey Education threw up this from stock market advisor UKAnalyst.com. They consider Wey Education to be a good ‘speculative buy’ and make the following assessment in support of Wey as their ‘TIp of the Day’;
‘While Wey Education has a limited trading history, it has a number of attractions. Firstly, the UK market for education is massive. According to estimates from the company, the government currently spends around GBP16.8 billion per annum on secondary schools and GBP15.2 billion on primary schools. In contrast to universities, the schools budget was relatively untouched by Chancellor Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review last October. In addition, the firm has good opportunities to take advantage of recent changes made by the Coalition government which will allow for more private sector involvement in state funded schools.’
In his paper ‘The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government’s ”free schools” in England Educational Review, 63(4).’ Birmingham City University academic Richard Hatcher evaluates the evidence for the performance of the models on which the free schools policy is based: charter schools in the US, free schools in Sweden, and Labour’s academies. Factors affecting the future trajectory of the free school initiative are discussed, including the opportunities for private companies to set up and run free schools for profit. Richard Hatcher cites Wey Education as an example of a business seeking to run schools for profit;
‘A case in point is Wey Education. Last year Zenna Atkins was Chair of Ofsted. This year she is the chief executive of Wey Education, which aims to run a for-profit chain of academies and free schools. Atkins said, ”When you have a fixed fee for every child set by the Government, who cares whether (the body running a school) is making a profit or not?” ‘
This is the real purpose behind the Government’s Academies and Free Schools programme. It has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘raising standards’ or ‘providing a first class education,’ as the DfE would have us believe. After all, free schools are not even required to appoint qualified teachers. It is about privatisation and opening up new markets. It is about investors profiting from the budget for state education, it is about running our state schools for profit. There is no doubt in my mind that this is immoral, and I think the majority of parents would share my view. In 2011 a YouGov survey of parents found that only 15% thought it was a good idea for schools to be run by private business. But where is the scandal, the indignation, the outcry? Wake up Britain please to what is being stolen from right under our noses.