Commenting on the Social Enterprise Schools report by Policy Exchange looking into the potential of‘for profit’ schools, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said
“The arguments against schools being run for profit are not ideological; they are based on the evidence that they do not work.
“Despite the fact that in Sweden for profit schools have lowered educational standards across the board and resulted in increased social segregation, they are still held up as a model by those hell bent on privatising our education system. Charter schools in the US have been shown to push out students less likely to achieve and the most comprehensive study of Charter schools categorically showed that 87% of students performed no better or ‘significantly worse’ than their state school counterparts.
“One of the reasons given in the report for private companies running schools is to end national pay bargaining. This would be the thin end of the wedge. Let there be no mistake: private companies running our schools would mean cutting corners in all areas for the sake of a profit motive.
“It is certainly the case that there is a lack of school places. However schools setting up randomly around the country without proper planning overseen by the local authority will simply exacerbate the problem, not solve it. Many of the first Free Schools to gain approval are secondary schools competing for places in areas where there is already a surplus of secondary places, not primaries seeking to fill a need. Private companies go where they see a profit, not where they recognise a need.
“It is extraordinary that a government would want to wash its hands of any responsibility for the education of its citizens in order to allow companies to make money out of our children. We really must stop this marketisation of our children and concentrate instead on providing a well rounded education which is accountable to the state, not to the shareholders of private companies”.