Children's education for sale at the academies show - ATL
16 May 2012
Regrettably, children's education will go on sale today at the academies show in London, which will undoubtedly boost the government's attempts to turn education into a commodity like a tin of baked beans, says the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).
ATL general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, said: "The academies show will be the education equivalent of the Ideal Homes Exhibition, presenting an idealised view of education and the chance of fat profits for those selling the vision.
"In Mr Gove's education world it seems that every school can have the best teachers and cutting edge resources, so long as they opt to become an academy. And it seems that the only credential any academy sponsors have to demonstrate is access to money.
"But, as we have seen recently, money is no guarantee of someone's financial or educational integrity. The chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies Trust bought sex games and electronic gadgets with the school's credit card, while trustees of other academies have expense accounts running to five figures.
"At present, there isn't a rigorous check on academy sponsors. They get the nod if they can convince the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, that they are sound. But we question whether it is realistic for one person to oversee 2,000 schools?
"ATL has written to the Education Secretary to call for a 'fit and proper' person test to be applied to the sponsors of our children's schools. If the government wants to show that it is independent of big business, now is the time to apply the fit and proper persons test."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.