In England, the Tory government has, for the last six years, been pursuing a policy of the privatisation of education through its Academies programme. This took a policy of the previous Labour administration designed to fast track resources into the most vulnerable schools, and repurposed it as the vehicle to transfer educational assets into the private sector. There was no evidence that this was a positive, evidence-based programme, it was determined by right-wing dogma, which always assumes that privatisation is good and public ownership is bad.
The evidence on the performance of Academies, and the Multi Academy Trusts which run them, suggests that they perform no better than state-controlled schools, and that there have been many examples of malfeasance and down right criminal behaviour in the financial affairs of significant numbers of trusts. Notwithstanding the lack of research evidence, the government was determined to push all schools towards becoming Academies within a tight deadline of a few years. Opposition to this proposal has meant that they have now retreated from this position. They are however still committed to the development of further grammar schools.
One casualty of this privatisation policy has been local accountability. There is no local authority available to balance the needs of schools within an area and little requirement for parents to have a voice in the development of the Academies. The result is a wastage of resources and lack of even quite basic financial and educational oversight.
There is however another model of education which can redress the current imbalances: the co-operative schools movement.
Danny Dorling outlines the merits of a learning model with a long and distinguished pedigree: Let’s go back to the future with co-operative schools – and leave grammars in the past | The Guardian