Privatisation of Education

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2005 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with concern the undermining of comprehensive education and the incremental and multi faceted process of privatisation and the continued marketisation of education which has taken place since 1997 through private management of state schools; privatisation of LEA functions; and the continued use of PFI.

The Government’s 5 year strategy for education will speed up this process through the introduction of foundation schools, promoting Academies and the conditions attached to the Building Schools for the Future Initiative which aims to refurbish / rebuild all secondary schools over a 10 – 15 year period.

These policies will result in:

1)Further privatisation with particular implications for UNISON members employed in school meals, cleaning and caretaking and local education authorities

2)A major role for private companies in schools and education provision

3)Undermining the role of the LEA and local authority

4)A clear threat to local democratic control

5)Attacks on national terms and conditions

Building Schools for the Future means that most secondary schools will be PFI Schools and councils are expected to establish a local Education Partnership Company 80% owned by the private sector and which can take over services currently provided by the local education authority.

The programme will also be used to achieve the Governments aim of 200 Academies. Councils bidding for BSF funding are being told bids will not be successful if they do not include proposals to establish an Academy.

Conference opposes:

a)The introduction of Academy schools

b)The BSF policy as currently applied

c)The introduction of foundation schools

Conference agrees the Service Group Executive should:

i)ensure adequate support and resources are made available at every level i.e. branch and region as well as national in order to fully respond to these challenges

ii)Convene a meeting for branches with schools in the initial 3 year programme to

iii)Provide guidance to branches which explains the implications of Foundation Schools, Academies and Building Schools for the Future

iv)Develop and promote campaigning strategies to oppose Academies; Foundation Schools and the privatisation of services under BSF

v)Develop and promote a negotiating strategy to respond to the introduction of Acadmies and Foundation Schools in conjunction with teachers trade unions

vi)Organise a seminar for branches in authorities in the initial 3 year BSF programme