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The Great Free School Scam

(25 Posts)
BeingAMumIsFun Fri 29-Jul-11 07:09:25

A private company is using community websites and facebook to ask parents to demand 2 new free schools in London.

the private company's website states it's aim is to control 10's of 1000s of primary school places for poorer children (who happen to get a pupil premium)

This private company states it wants to "reform" society. And who c-ofounded this private company. A man called Nat Wei.(the man David Cameron made a life peer and also appointed him as his big society policy Tzar). And who is part of the company? 2 Tory party big society policy writers.

So the Tory party change the law to allow anyone to run an school, the Tory party changes the law to say poor pupils come with extra money - (but before the laws are introduced the Tory Party set up a private company to take advantage of the laws the Tory party intend to introduce).

If this Tory Party controlled private company does control 10's of 1000's of primary school places in free schools - remember David Cameron's Tory party also stated these "free schools" do not have to employ teachers.

So these free schools, to be controlled by a political party (not a democratically elected council) can get paid extra to "educate" poor children whilst not employing qualified teachers to teach them!

I guess poor children have not to get a decent education under David Cameron's plans.

(and no-coincidence - this same Tory controlled private company also set up Challenge Network - the "charity" the Tory Party awarded most of the contract for the summer camps for English children this year.

So a political party will control young minds in primary schools and also control young minds at summer camps.

No political party should be allowed to directly control children's minds

What the free school scam means is - David Cameron's laws will mean the Tory Party - not government and councils - will control billions of pounds of England's education budget and our childrens minds even when the Tory Party is voted out of power.

It just gets worse and worse - so if you see adverts asking you to demand a free school - remember this Tory Party Private Company wants to make money from your child. And the company is called The Shaftesbury Partnership www.shaftesburypartnership.org/. Look on the website and see for yourself

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 08:52:35

If what you say is correct, BeingAMum, it does all sounds very sinister ...

'The Shaftesbury Partnership (SP) is a social business whose mission is to create and inspire trailblazing social reforms that empower communities by tackling disadvantage and generating opportunity.
...
Our work with clients covers three areas:

•designing and delivering pioneering and scalable (?) social reforms;
•understanding and influencing the behaviours that underpin chronic social problems;
•recruiting, supporting and resourcing the next generation of social reformers.'

What would this sort of thing be called if it were the Chinese Government doing it, I wonder? At least they are open about it.

Absolutely share your concerns, OP.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Jul-11 11:21:27

Surely it's no worse than those trying to open a faith school? That's all about recruiting and supporting children into a particular set of religious rules.... They've still got to be up to scratch with key performance indicators, abide by admission procedures and turn out well-educated children at the end of the day. Otherwise no-one is going to send their children there, let alone petition to have one created.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 11:54:11

This seems to be about the systematic indoctrination of young people in order to create little Tory voters for the future. The faith schools aren't aligned with any political party, afaik. The Free Schools system is wide open to abuse from any far-right/left crackpot organisation who want to colonise young minds.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Jul-11 12:08:03

Political party, religion, right-wing, left-wing. They're all just variations on belief systems so I fail to see what the material difference is supposed to be. Utlimately, they won't happen if there isn't enough local support. Ultimately, they'll fail if parents don't want to send their children to them.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 12:55:12

But it's not always clear who is behind them, as the OP shows, so parents might not be aware of the particular form of indoctrination that's taking place.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 12:59:38

Why does the conservative party feel the need to go about this so surreptitiously? Couldn't they just set up a system of openly labelled 'Tory free schools'? If their philosophy is so good, why do they have to trick us into buying into it?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Jul-11 14:17:15

A lot of big business has links to the Conservative party - doesn't necessarily follow that they are 'tory controlled' in a noticeably different way to other organisations. Is Sainsbury's a noticeably 'tory controlled' supermarket, for example? I also don't understand in this example what makes their stated aims particularly Tory. All good schools have an ethos or mission statement and what's wrong with 'social reform' targeting the underprivileged as stated? I would expect a school with a connection to the Labour party would have exactly the same kind of aims....only they'd probably use 'progressive' somewhere in the description.

Fimbo Fri 29-Jul-11 14:29:04

We have a free school supposedly opening here in time for September. It is in the middle of town with absolutely zero parking. My friend has got a place for her dd, I am waiting for the fallout and her dd to be at school with my ds by October.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 19:27:19

'All good schools have an ethos or mission statement and what's wrong with 'social reform' targeting the underprivileged as stated? I would expect a school with a connection to the Labour party would have exactly the same kind of aims....only they'd probably use 'progressive' somewhere in the description.'

True, Cogito. But because these schools are controlled by the Tory party, you would expect them to inflict their Tory philosophy on the kids. So, for example, when teaching History they would give it a Tory slant. They would only employ Tories as teachers, etc. And the Labour party would do the same, as you say. I don't know about you, but I would like my kids to be taught by teachers who are engaged by the school because of their qualifications and talents, not their beliefs.

And schools aren't businesses, imo.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 19:28:16

But then I suppose I just wouldn't send them to a free school anyway.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 30-Jul-11 08:49:47

Most of the teachers I know have politics that are well left of centre so a 'tory school' (which it wouldn't be of course) would struggle to find 'tory teachers'.... if such a thing even existed.... to give history a 'tory slant' whatever that might be. When my DS's teacher explained why they all went on strike a few weeks ago he came away understanding that 'the government is taking away sir's pension'.... the man may be qualified and talented but his beliefs & politics were definitely out on the table that day.

Mellowfruitfulness Sat 30-Jul-11 09:14:09

Yup, I know. One of my son's teachers is a member of the SNP party. However, the rest aren't. They have lots of different opinions, which is the best thing, imo, just as in real life. And I don't think they should feel they have to hide them, but nor should they shove them down the students' throats.

And the main thing is that they haven't been chosen by the school because of their political or religious beliefs or commercial allegiances. And I agree, you probably wouldn't be able to staff a school with Tory teachers!

EdithWeston Sat 30-Jul-11 09:28:43

"So a political party will control young minds in primary schools"

Yes - that's been the case since the 1940s when the State took over most schools. It's not proved particularly effective (too many individual variations).

This thread seems a teensy bit of an overreaction to a company doing what all companies do - having a web presence and PR to reach the general public.

(BTW - not just "anyone" can open a school - that was the Labour policy for academy sponsors. It's been tightened up in the last year or so. It's rather unfair to suggest that the introduction of private sponsors into schools is a Tory policy).

Mellowfruitfulness Sat 30-Jul-11 12:00:34

Edith, there have been many different parties in power since the 1940s!

I think the concern here is wider than just the one company. It's the thought that the whole system of Free Schools seems so open to abuse by anyone on a mission to control young minds (whether right-or left-wing).

EdithWeston Sat 30-Jul-11 12:07:00

Mellowfruits: exactly - and successive changes aren't great, are they?

The rules on who can open a school are tighter than the previous one's on who can sponsor an academy, so this Govt seems to be moving more in direction wanted than the last one though. And there will still be the checks and balances of NC and OFSTED.

What worries me most is something else, which is that free schools, in opting out of LA control, will instead be answerable directly to the SoS. This is major nationalisation. I think we can be pretty sure that the current administration will be hands-off. But it's not exactly a future-proof set-up.

Mellowfruitfulness Sat 30-Jul-11 12:22:21

Sorry - what are NC and SoS? Agree - the system of free schools is far from future-proof!

Fwiw, I was and am also uneasy about Academies - or any approach to education that opens it up to (unregulated/underregulated) bodies who might have another agenda. Getting businesses to sponsor education - while clearly an attempt by the government spread the costs - seems to me to be tantamount to saying that the purpose of education is simply to produce the workers and consumers of the future.

I see the purpose of education as more about teaching people to think for themselves and be responsible citizens, while helping them to appreciate (value and protect) the natural beauty of the planet and inspiring them by the incredible richness of human achievements in all areas! I think the state schools already do that amazingly well in most cases.

EdithWeston Sat 30-Jul-11 12:25:47

NC is national curriculum and SoS is Secretary of State.

Mellowfruitfulness Sat 30-Jul-11 12:34:44

Thanks, Edith. Yes, being answerable to the SoS is not a good idea, imo. Why? I thought this government wanted less, rather than more responsibility for providing and regulating education. Why can't the free schools be answerable to the LAs like the state (and independent?) schools?

EdithWeston Sat 30-Jul-11 12:38:19

Independent schools are answerable to nobody in Government (except in EYFS, boarding provision or if they opt for OFSTED, rather than ISC inspection - they still have to be inspected).

"free" in this context means "free from LA control", so is the very point of the policy.

Mellowfruitfulness Sat 30-Jul-11 13:21:04

Edith, brain not properly engaged. blush

So then the OP is right to be worried, because in spite of offloading the costs and shruggng off the responsibility for education, the government still wants to retain its influence over the minds of the children while propping up the interests of its business cronies. In a nut shell.

Sad that education and health are such political playthings.

ElfHire Tue 02-Aug-11 21:44:49

http://www.maharishischool.com/ - free school in lancashire
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1583269/Inside-Britains-strictest-sect.html - proposed free school in Lancashire.

Maybe Lancashire is a magnet for this sort of thing!

ElfHire Tue 02-Aug-11 22:04:08

How much does it cost to set one of these up? Michael talks about the current financial crisis and the national debt burden but what he won't talk about is the cost of these so-called free schools! He’s lavishing so much money on free schools that his department is embarrassed to reveal the total. The Department for Education will only say that the cost of these schools is commercially sensitive. With many of them in listed buildings that will cost millions of pounds to renovate and maintain, it's no wonder that the DfE is coy about the outlay. Instead of spending vast amounts of taxpayers’ money on 32 schools, Mike should be using it for the benefit of all our children.

Solopower Wed 03-Aug-11 20:07:36

Elfhire, is it possible to get an idea of how much the free schools cost to set up by using the Freedom of Information Act?

Agree that much more transparency and honesty needed here!

ElfHire Thu 11-Aug-11 19:19:48

Solopower - we can ask but they wont tell. As far as I'm aware Freeschools, like academies are exempt from FOI requests. The department and agency wont respond.
How transparent does that seem?

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