Anger at moves for private takeover of East End state school

Education unions are uniting in London’s East End to oppose moves for a state secondary school to ‘opt out’ of Local Authority control.

Governors at Bethnal Green Technology College are consulting on a proposal to turn it into one of the government’s new academy schools.

It would mean the campus would no longer be part of Tower Hamlets Local Authority, but become an independent State school directly funded and controlled by the government and run by a private sponsor.

The funds to run an ‘academy’ school would be taken away from Tower Hamlets’ hard-pressed budget, the unions point out.

“The government wants to break up and privatise local education,” said Tower Hamlets NUT secretary Alex Kenny.

“Allowing schools to become academies is the way of doing this.

“Education in the East End is successful and improving—precisely because schools work together under the guidance of Tower Hamlets Local Authority.

Most Read

“There is no way we would have achieved such success if schools had all operated individually.”

Ownership of the school buildings and assets would transfer from the public authority to the new privately-run company that would be established to run it, the unions point out.

Bethnal Green Technology—formerly Daneford Comprehensive—has just been completely refurbished in a programme funded by public money and overseen by the local authority.

“It seems outrageous that after all this work the school can be handed over to an outside agency,” Mr Kenny added.

Unions are concerned that academy schools could damage public provision of education and undermine the success of education in Tower Hamlets.

They are contacting parents to explain their concerns about the academy proposal and the arguments for maintaining all schools under public control.