Everton FC make grand claims for their reputation as ‘The People’s Club’ yet by opening football’s first ‘Free School’ maybe the Toffees are undermining all their good work with the rightly praised Everton In The Community initiative.
Free schools are hyped by the Tories as specialised, self-financed centres of excellence that operate without the overbearing bureaucratic red tape of local authority control. They are autonomous and selective but not in any way elitist, oh no, because elitism is BAD. These schools are all about ‘spreading privilege’ in a Goveist-Cameronian Utopia where every kid has the opportunity to attend a 6k a term public school or at least get their mummy’s and daddy’s to open up their own schools where they can teach creationism as scientific fact, fairies and hobgoblin studies and football as a way out of drugs n’ crime.
Here’s what Dave has to say about the Everton Free School : “Groups of people, parents, teachers have come together to do something amazing, schools like Everton Free School, for teenagers, some of whom were excluded from traditional forms of education, have been using the power of sport to teach responsibility and self-reliance.”
Breaks yer heart dunnit? Those Old Etonian Overlords just wanna teach the poor kids all about responsibility and self-reliance, those hallowed virtues of the super rich, who of course exercise responsibility and self-reliance all the time. They’re responsible for corruption and cover ups, economic meltdown, austerity, war, torture and mass murder to protect their own financial interests.
They exercise self-reliance every time they put in a bogus expenses claim, a dodgy off-shore tax return, feather their own nests with national asset stripping, plunder the public purse to shore up their own vested interests and use the media, the military, the judiciary, the accountants and the police to hush it all up.
My daughter’s comprehensive school’s motto isn’t something in Latin or a profound statement upon the moulding of young minds into free thinking, inquisitive individuals but ‘We’re In The Business Of Learning.’ Those six sad words say everything about the approach to education by both Labour and Tory governments. Academic achievement is only good for one thing; making money. Her school under Blair, Brown and Cameron was a so-called ‘Specialist Technical College’ for a few years but is now a ‘National Teaching School and STEM Centre Of Excellence’ whatever that means. At the foot of each letter is a collection of logos and awards :
- Healthy Schools
- Ssat Consultant School Accreditation
- Arts Council England
- IQM (Inclusion Quality Champion)
- Investors In People – Champion
- Investors In People – Gold
- Leadership Partner School
- Ofsted – Outstanding 2010-2011
- International School Award 2011-2012
Like all secondary schools, especially those in socially deprived areas, they have to scrape for funding and so cut their academic cloth according to where the dough’s at. Like all schools it is obsessed with league tables, better results equals more pupils, more pupils equals more resources. School reports are generic, the pupil’s names obviously cut and pasted to templates containing bland subject text. They’re shit hot on absences because they have targets for that too, better attendance rates equals better Ofsted results, equals more students equals more resources, maybe a pay-rise for the head.
This was the Tory ‘payment by results’ spirit of competition that would set the private and the public sector free. Yet predictably all it resulted in was ever worse standards of care, in hospitals and care homes, the fiddling of figures in the police, health care, employment and education, deliberate dumbing down, outright cheating and fraud. Lies, damn lies and statistics. From A4e to Group 4, from examination boards to NHS Trusts, from BP to United Utilities, from supermarket cartels to gas price hikes, from west coast rail contracts to insurance company gangsters, from legal loan sharking to university fees; money makes the world go round and no-one is willing to take a stand. No Labour education minister or Prime Minister, y’know the people who are supposed to safeguard the interests of the vulnerable and the powerless, has lifted a finger to stop this sordid process. Indeed they have all benefitted financially from the very system they once pretended to oppose.
The Free School ethos is just another Tory lie. Michael Gove is subsidising these ideological weapons in his war against the education system. Millions pour into a handful of schools in order to prove that local authorities and ‘trendy lefty’ teachers and their unions are not fit to equip the young with the knowledge or at least the ‘skills’ that future employers demand. Gove and his toff pals really do want to return to a world where a tiny minority of wealthy students get all the breaks whilst the rest scrap for bursaries and scholarships as a way in to this elite. The grammar schools can offer the odd clever prole a minor position in the civil service and the mass of the unwashed, feral council estate youth can just learn how to lay bricks, repair engines and cook spuds.
That’s why schools are ‘in the business of learning’ and that’s why ‘The People’s Club’ are shitting on their local community by joining Gove’s divisive crusade and taking much needed resources away from other local authority funded schools in some of the poorest areas in western Europe.