Privatisation of Education

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2005 National Delegate Conference
15 February 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with concern the incremental and multi-faceted process of privatisation and marketisation of education which has taken place under the Labour government through private management of state schools, privatisation of Local Education Authority (LEA) functions and education provision, and use of Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

The government’s five 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 (BSF) initiative which aims to refurbish/rebuild all secondary schools.

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)used to undermine LEAs;

4)a clear threat to local democratic control.

BSF means that most secondary schools will be PFI schools and councils are expected to establish a local education partnership company, 80 per cent 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 government’s 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 the:

a)introduction of academy schools;

b)BSF policy as currently applied;

c)introduction of foundation schools.

And calls for a broad-based campaign against privatisation/marketisation of education and to seek to work with teachers’ unions and others representing school-based staff.

The campaign to include the ending of local management of schools and for schools to be accountable to the local community through elected local education authorities.