Tony Benn joins protest against East End state school move to become academy

Veteran politician Tony Benn has joined a growing protest in London’s East End against one of its biggest State secondary schools opting out of local authority control and becoming an academy.

Petitions have been organised over the controversial move by Bethnal Green Technology College.

Mr Benn, a senior minister in Harold Wilson’s Labour government in the 1960s and 70s, added his name to the petitions last night (pictured).

He warned a public meeting in Bethnal Green: “Academies are a form of privatisation that allows private businesses to run schools for profit.”

The meeting was organised at St Hilda’s community centre in Club Row by the Coalition of Resistance campaign opposing public spending cuts and privatisation.

The ‘academy’ issue was used as an example at the meeting of “creeping privatisation” getting into State education.

Two petitions have been set up by the East End’s ‘Hands Off Our Public Services’ pressure group—one being presented to Tower Hamlets Council on July 13 and the other to the governors of Bethnal Green College.

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The group is setting up tables outside Tesco’s supermarket in Bethnal Green Road from 11am tomorrow (Sat) aimed at getting shoppers and passers-by to sign.