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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Education - how to get a glowing report

And in a further rant about academy schools...

The government has just unveiled the sponsors for its latest round of academy schools. There are 51 'new' (I use the term loosely, given that more often than not we're referring to formerly-state schools that the government has highjacked for its vanity learnin' project) academy schools opening this September, all of which have received a paltry £2m in funding from private business, in exchange for the control of young minds.

As yesterday's Daily Telegraph succintly put it,

'Teaching unions criticised the scale of the expansion, saying that companies with no track record in education were being given control of state schools. For as little as £2 million investment, organisations gain overall control of the governing body, dictating teacher's salaries, the curriculum and policies on admissions and exclusion.'

Course, the government wouldn't be so crass as to allow companies to force their own educationally biased agenda on state educated youths, would it?

Hmmm. Unless you consider that the vast majority of academy school sponsors are religious organisations which, historically, have never been all that shy in pushing their own agenda - think Spanish Inquisition and the burning of heretics at one end of the scale, and Vardy's creationist-led academy schools at the other.

Academy and Trust schools were, let's not forget, brought in by a man whose religious beliefs dictated his decisions as the head of the UK government, and who now - following an indecently hasty conversion to Catholicism - now believes he's going to sort out the 'problems of the Middle East' as head of a faith organisation. Tony Blair, your audacity is breathtaking. Shockingly, frighteningly, delusionally breathtaking.

However, I digress: the shining light of this round of academy sponsors? Step forward, Sellafield Ltd. That's right - the folks that brought you the warm, cuddly and educationally-relevant Sellafield Nuclear Plant.

The school they're sponsoring, the new West Lakes Academy, with be formed by the merger of two existing secondary schools and will specialise in science and business enterprise.

Question: what do you suppose the school's budding scientists are likely to be taught about sustainable, environmentally-friendly energy resources and their future viability by this non-biased, nuclear energy-sponsored centre of scientific excellence?

I for one would love to know.

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