Worst Performing Ministers 45


It is today announced that the 200 “worst performing” primary schools are to be handed over to the private sector to run.

We recall from his second-home flipping expenses dodges that Gove is a man very keen on private gain. But this ideologically driven lunacy must stop. The subjective notion of “worse performing schools” will, more than any other factor, be found to depend on the home environment and, bluntly, family income, housing conditions and level of education from which the children come. Handing over 100,000 of our most disadvantaged schoolchildren to be practised upon by rich individuals with nutty religious backgrounds, is an abomination.

This will also deliver a great deal of cash from the Lib Dems trumpeted “Pupil premium” for schools with disadvantaged children, into the private sector.

This is an utter disgrace. If she has any honour at all, Sarah Teather must resign immediately (she is one of my Facebook friends. I shall send her a message saying that).


45 thoughts on “Worst Performing Ministers

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  • mary

    Agree.
    .
    The execrable Gove would not answer the questions this morning on financial discrepancies in the funding in favour of academies on Radio 4 nor would he stop laughing. He obviously thinks the subject is funny.
    .
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9514000/9514221.stm
    Academies herald ‘a change of attitude’
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    The 200 worst performing primary schools in England will be converted into academies by 2012/2013, under plans being announced by the education secretary.
    .
    Michael Gove defended his plans on the Today programme, telling Sarah Montague that the academies programme had already been “highly successful” in improving aspirations in secondary schools because of its “single and relentless focus” on raising standards.
    .
    “The essence of ensuring schools improve is getting bureaucracy out of the way, and making sure that heads are liberated in order to concentrate solely on student achievement.”
    .
    He argued that academies were able to benefit individual students because they were driven not by money, but a “change of attitude”.
    .
    In response to the claim that he had lost control of the education budget, Mr Gove admitted that mistakes that had been made in the funding system, but that these were part of the “mess created by the last government.”
    .
    He added that money being clawed back from academies and local authorities reflected problems that had been “inherited” and was something his party was in the process of “putting right”.

  • mark_golding

    “Commenting on Michael Gove’s plans to close 200 primary schools in England and re-open them as academies next year, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said:

    “It is with breath taking ignorance that Michael Gove believes compelling primary schools to convert to academies status will improve standards. The evidence does not support this.

    “This is a totally unacceptable experiment to undertake with our primary school children. Since last September few primaries have voluntarily converted to academy status.

    “These plans are being sold as the Government’s vision of state funded education but are transparently not state education as there will be no democratic accountability.

    “Schools and in particular primary schools have not been clamouring to leave the local authority family of schools for the obvious reason that they value and need the additional support they receive from their local authority and neighbouring schools.

    “We all want the best possible standards of teaching and learning in our schools. If Michael Gove were suggesting that all schools work together to improve education in their locality, sharing resources and best practice and using the facilities of the local authority we would gladly welcome it. Simply closing schools and replacing them with academies will not have the impact sought but will cause a great deal of confusion and distress for parents, pupils and staff.

    “We have already seen the disastrous result of Government policy made in haste resulting in ill thought out proposals. They must not be given the opportunity to do it again with our primary children”.

    Christine Blower
    National Union of Teachers

  • ingo

    The funding of academies is flawed, those who press their indoctrinals on our children, pressing them into smallminded, sometimes anti scientific mindset frameworks, have merely got to cough up 5 % of the schools funding, with the vast majority coming from the taxpayer.
    Here in Norfolk cllr.s are faced with having to decide whether to give 450.000 to three academies, who are all stabbing each other in the back for the Lions share, or whether this money should benefit all school children, be given to all schools in Norfolk. Michael Gove’s nutty, privatising policies lead to rancour and misfeelings were there once was cooperation and friendly relationships between schools, together with league tables and sparring parents moving house and hof, this makes for the new education environment of the 21st. century.
    Add to this the rip off attitudes of our universities, now all going for the max. fees, with some even arguing for far more, making it a competitive race between higher education establishments, and you have a receipe for failure.
    This country needs one single Government that does not chop and change education, that gives teachers and schools max. independence and funds them, without burying them under directives, regulations and an ever changing moralising curriculum, a Government that does not tie them up in silly paperwork, silly competuition between staff and schools, but someone who lets schools get on with education for its own sake.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Perhaps, Craig, you will find yourslf either ‘unfriended’ or ‘blocked’ by Ms Teather. She won’t resign, though. Power is like a magnet, or a drug, or like the Ring in Tolkien: “My precious…!!” Let’s see what happens.

  • craig Post author

    Richard,

    Have been missing your regular contributions under your former name on this blog!! That is an amazing story.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    It’s another piece of privatisation by the back door. Most of the Conservative party don’t believe in any public services at all, but know the majority of people in the country do, so they chip away at them with initiatives like this and PFIs/PPPs, just like Blair did.

  • mark_golding

    Richard,

    That was a serious piece of ‘forensic Googling’ on Durand -intriquing – Thank-you

    I guess no tea & biscuits at their governors meetings; more like sharpening knives and poisoning pens.

  • mark_golding

    The more I read Craig’s post the more angry I get. Sorry but I spent 2 years as a parent governor of a Primary School. Primary school children DO NOT need experiments in education they need stable LEA support leaving governors to raise school funds for additional equipment by traditional means, concentrate on special needs, combat bullying and problems with intelligent parent/teacher mentoring, write grant proposals and much more. Do we want ‘Big Business’ (PRIVATE ENTERPRISE) corruption and dealing in our *Primary* schools – In my opinion – NO, WE DO NOT!

  • Conjunction

    I saw on BBC News recently – I can’t remember the exact statistics – that most University candidates with good Maths and Science and other traditional subjects come from private schools. The reason for this is quoted as being that the only way tatty comprehensives can keep their place in the league tables is by encouraging kids to do A levels in Media Studies etc etc.

    However the universities remarkably enough are not fools and all these kids with Media Studies or say Law at A level cannot get into Uni.

    Nice one, Thatcher and Blair who ruined our education system.

  • deepgreenpuddock

    Adding my congrats and thanks for the piece posted and linked by Richard. The article is very spooky and disturbing indeed.
    it is this kind of material which will undo the coalition, although it will take time.

  • JimmyGiro

    Close all the Primary schools; they’re just gulags for babies anyway.
    .
    They serve no educational purpose; yet allow feminist teachers to practice their evil indoctrinations, including the Ritalin abuse of boys.
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    Children should stay with their parents until about 8 years. It might give some of those feckless mothers something to do, rather than strutting down the High street on “slut-marches”, when not puking in the gutter after a hen-night, for a wedding only the divorce layers benefit from.
    .
    They should regard their own children with a sense of responsibility, and teach them the 3 ‘R’s (reading, writing, and rape-awareness), instead of treating them as fashion accessories, until its time to dump them off at the state gulag, on their way to the beautician’s.

    • Jon

      Oh dear, oh dear – this again, Jimmy? Again, a topic not about feminism/women turned around to exercise a hobby-horse.
      .
      I have no wish to restrict your right to insist there is a British cabal of cackling, evil-intentioned, dungaree-wearing, NuLab, Marxist feminist teachers, but you should be aware that you’ve not reasonably proved your case – as far as I know – to anyone here. Are drugs incorrectly prescribed to children? Sure, but that’s not the same as feminist teachers wanting to keep a young male population drugged, as you seem to imply.
      .
      I’d wager also that the women on the SlutWalks are probably not the same women throwing up in the street on a Saturday night. In any case, SlutWalks appear to be a celebration of human sexuality, and a rejection of religiously/societally imposed shame – which sounds good and liberal to me. Furthermore I believe men are welcome on SlutWalks – as we’ve discussed before, men can be, and sometimes are, feminists too.
      .
      Sure, some parents regard their children as accessories – but are you genuinely of the view that all women think in this way about their offspring? I have no idea where to even start with that one.
      .
      I do agree with you on one thing though – children should start education later than they do. But my motivation comes from the Oliver James school of thinking: children need a good number of years with their primary carers to develop a solid ‘trust model’ before being abandoned at school, and to develop their intellectual and artistic creativities before it is stifled by a crammed curriculum.

  • mary

    Durand Education Trust is a registered charity and one of its three trustees is a Dr Alex Mehta whose registered charity http://activecommunities.org.uk/archives/51 has an income and roughly equal expenditure of £1.2 million. Its aim is ‘Committed to the use and promotion of sports, arts and cultural activities to improve youth citizenship, community cohesion and academic attainment’ here and overseas.

    Durand’s website includes puffs from the likes of Gove, Laws, Coaker, Hoey et al. http://www.durandacademy.com/durand-trust/

  • mary

    There is a lot of money sloshing around here.
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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8523940/Exclusive-Government-to-give-green-light-to-first-fully-free-state-run-boarding-school-owned-by-a-state-primary.html
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    It is thought to be first time that a state primary school has ever bought its own boarding school to educate its children.
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    The joint venture between the Government and the Durand Education Trust will see inner city children from south London educated at a the school in Sussex.
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    The Government has committed up to £17.34 million phased over four years to contribute towards the capital costs, with significant investment already made and committed to by the school’s foundation for the remainder.

  • mary

    This report is linked on the main page of the BBC Website. It is NOT news. It is propaganda. It is a summary of a speech that the CBI deputy director general will be giving in Surrey, date unknown. It is a rallying cry in 700 words to the laggards in the so called coalition. Amazing.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13799931
    The coalition is “losing its way” over its promised public sector reforms in the face of union pressure and fears of a public backlash, the CBI is to claim.

  • Vronsky

    Sarah Teather will not resign. You need to meditate upon that Craig, and why it is so easy to make that prediction. Are we not nearing the stage where if *you* had ‘any honour at all’ you would tear up your party card?

  • YugoStiglitz

    Heh Craig – it increasingly looks like DSK is guilty of raping that woman. Care to walk back your comments about a global conspiracy? What you’ve said kinda cheapens all your claims about the conspiracy against you.

  • ingo

    Thanks for making me think that litle further Richard, great find that, it needs a wider publicity;also thanks to Jimmy Giro for making me laugh.
    I also agree with Vronsky’s resumee, I warned him not to join before the election last year, but wait and see what happens to Lib Dem policies. Clegg does seem to be wedded to the rigmarole, rather than what he stands for so, at the next Conference, a very public exit is something I would prefer than the mooching over bad decisions by one’s leader, forever.
    the Lib Dems have month, not years, to pull themaselves out of this starglehold and cause a GE, or else we will see more of the same closing down of information, jack boots etc. etc.. Why suffer.

    • Jon

      Ha, I knew what the topic of that link would be even before I clicked it! 🙂
      .
      I guess this is a substantial difference of opinion between us: you regard capitalism in its present form as fine, or requiring only of minor tweaks; I think it requires root-and-branch change. Whether that is obtained through the political process or a grassroots revolution is impossible to say, of course, but I maintain that we do need a revolution of some kind.

  • anno

    The UK Muslim scholars have been as active in grovelling to Tory M.P.s as they have to New Labour ones, because they regard their foreign policies as indistinguishable.

    Both political parties have delegated our children’s education to ‘nutty religious sponsors’ in the Acadamies, and both have been eager to promote Faith schools. In addition both political parties, through Ofsted will readily endorse applications for new private, independent Faith schools, before inspecting the facilities of the schools.

    There are a large number of very posh and very nutty religious, independent schools in this country, with sister schools across the globe. So it appears that politicians of all shades are in favour of zero-regulation for nutty religious education, for the benefit of their own ideologies. They have in turn imposed nutty ideology on publicly funded Academies. And they are confident enough in the ability of lesser bodies to control the education and facilities of Muslim schools, to leave utter nuttiness in education completely unscrutinised.

    I do not believe this situation is encouraged because of the revenues that nutty independent schools bring to this country.
    Islam is presented as an alien force in our society, but in reality the UK fosters thousands of educational institutions which are alien to normal UK views. Our country is not governed by those who have our own interests at heart, and they use this country not just as a milk-cow, but also as training ground for their alien views.

  • angrysoba

    Jon: “I guess this is a substantial difference of opinion between us: you regard capitalism in its present form as fine, or requiring only of minor tweaks; I think it requires root-and-branch change. Whether that is obtained through the political process or a grassroots revolution is impossible to say, of course, but I maintain that we do need a revolution of some kind.”
    .
    Hi Jon. You’re probably right about identifying the difference between us in that way. It’s not that I am particularly pro-capitalist but I have been persuaded against previous convictions (and hence require some serious unpersuading) that something along the lines of capitalism is necessary for increasing the standard of living of all humans. I was converted to this belief by Jared Diamond even though he probably didn’t write Guns, Germs and Steel to convince people of such ideas. It was the book that really brought home to me what it means to talk of “wealth creation” or “economic growth”. I had worked out something along those lines all by myself – and was quite proud of it – and realized there was an informal proof against what I understood to be the “redistribution of wealth” zero-sum game of Adolescent Socialism that sees the world’s wealth as a pie of size X which can only be divided; I was told that one man could only get richer by making another man poorer and that such a thing was almost an a priori truth. But one day while watching some TV drama about a nuclear war made by people who would believe in such a zero-sum game it occured to me that if anyone ever survived a civilization-ending world war they would necessarily live far poorer lives despite being in control of all the world’s resources and that this would be true for everyone left living on the earth. The point being that they weren’t poorer simply because others were richer but because “wealth” or “desirable things” was absolutely reduced. I thought then that the corollary of that is that people could throughout the whole world become richer without by necessity make others poorer.
    .
    It is for those reasons that I don’t have a problem with what is disparagingly referred to as “consumerism”. It seems to me that even the lowest strata of society is living a better life than they would have a century or more ago and this goes also for parts of the poor world. Please note that by saying this I am not at all saying that the poor of the world live enviable lives or that there isn’t far more that can be done to improve their lives.
    .
    Does this mean that we live in a perfect equalitarian world? No, of course not. We live in a terribly unjust and unfair world. See this as an example:
    https://i.imgur.com/jd0s1.png
    .
    I do worry that when we see “riiiiiiiiots” happen in Britain these days we’re not essentially seeing the type of people who would smash up cars because their hockey team didn’t win the Stanley Cup.

    • Jon

      Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed reply, Angry. My political development has gone in the other direction, but equally as gradually, I suspect. I hung on to the idea of the reform of capitalism for a long time, but I am now of the view that it is unreformable – for reasons I’ll mention in a bit. But I would say that whilst I am in favour of socialism, I am not wedded to any particular solution; I just think that the world should be willing to try some alternatives.
      .
      However, of course the political class is generally in favour of the status quo, and anti-capitalists have not been very effective at countering the propaganda of capitalism, nor at presenting their own ideas. I am in favour of Chomsky’s approach: discuss what changes would be possible, and start implementing them slowly. I think there could be a variety of zones of alternative/experimental economic models around the world, and we could grow the model that worked the best. However, that would require the power of capital not to destroy or interfere with those experiments, as would happen today (under US/UK control, as recent history in Latin and Central America shows).
      .
      I’d like to see one of those zones dedicated to trying out Participatory Economics – I went to see Michael Albert speak last year, and he was inspirational. It is a pity that his proposal does not attract more discussion from anti-capitalists, I think, and I would commend his ideas for your reading, even if you think you might already disagree with them.
      .
      My conversion to regarding capitalism as unreformable comes with an awareness that its inherently unstable cycles are only effectively regulated in the short term. A great example is the recent bankers’ crisis, which – I don’t think it is contentious to say – is responsible for the world’s present economic downturn. Part of the frustration on the Left is that capitalism in recent times had regulations to prevent this wholesale theft, but they were removed – the financial elite had successfully lobbied for their amendment on both sides of the Atlantic.
      .
      After the Wall Street Crash in 1929, financial institutions were split between retail banking and casino banking – and the latter half were promised in the US they would never be backed by the state. This was remarkably effective in ensuring that risky gambling in the city would never threaten the economy – those that took excessive risk would just go bust. However, standard banking for individuals and businesses was still to be backed by the state. But somewhere along the line, in the US, a bailout package of USD700Bn was of course recently passed – state money going to private pockets, all with the approval of a petrified political elite. (You may not like Michael Moore, but his ‘Capitalism – A Love Story’ presents this very well.)
      .
      So, we have the same in this country – and already the likes of Bob Diamond (of Barclays, I think) are declaring that “the time for [bankers’] contrition is now over”. So, ordinary people are being made to pay for the excesses of a super-wealthy class, and legislation was made or repealed over the years in order to allow them to do it. This is why, in a sane world, the working and middle classes of the Western world ought to be rioting in the streets: the bankers have put their hands into every working person’s pocket, and taken thousands of dollars per head!
      .
      So, I contend that capitalism doesn’t contain an ability to learn from its mistakes. In fact, it is worse than that: it contains the ability to destroy itself over the long term. It is a paradox that large corporations are sometimes in favour of minimal regulation (or at least industry codes of conduct to which their competitors must abide) since they know that the profit motive would otherwise have them poisoning the ecosystem, creating unsafe products, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals, and so forth.
      .
      We see some of these effects today – in particular the commercialisation of the arms industry, which has been burgeoning since the 1970s. Now, conflict is treated as a business opportunity; I went to see Eamonn McCann (of the Raytheon Nine) give a talk, and in it he mentioned a communique from a defence CEO to his employees. I paraphrase it here, but in essence it said: “With increased conflict zones around the world, especially in the Middle East, now is an exciting time to do business in our industry”. Quite how many intermediate cognitive steps are required to turn a sane and moral person into having such a sociopathic outlook is beyond me, but there you go: creating products that kill people and that perpetuate violence, adds zeroes to the bottom line.
      .
      I am interested in the idea of the ‘hidden hand’ of the marketplace too. Ostensibly used as a metaphor to describe capitalism’s self-regulation, I see it as something quite a bit more than that. I tend to use the phrase to show that an individual’s behaviour within the system, motivated as it is by profit, helps perpetuate the spread and the depth of capitalism. For example, when a consumer puts petrol in their car, they may be aware that the enormous demand for oil plus its relative scarcity is the cause of much conflict around the world – which often involves invasion, occupation, asset-stripping and economic neo-liberalising.
      .
      Furthermore, the hidden hand amplifies the requirements of the political and financial elite. It is quite likely that no-one within our political machines wrote a memo saying “Invade Iraq, steal their oil”. But given the right conflation of energy lobbyists, military supply companies, political advisers and civil servants, all pushing largely for their own profit-oriented self-interest – I think the sum total of motivation from each ‘actor’ means that someone might as well have written that memo in the first place. It’d have saved a lot of hassle from a lot of people!
      .
      Of course, in the short term I agree with more regulation of capitalism. Strangely it was the Conservatives who mooted the re-separation of retail and casino banking before the UK general election last year, though it was doubtful they ever intended to implement it. They pushed it out to a commission, which of course knew the result it was required to give: let’s try more moderate mechanisms of regulation, including self-regulation, as we don’t want to ‘disrupt’ banking during a sensitive time.
      .
      The only way in which capital may be brought to heel, in my view, is if ordinary people are able to seize control of the media. Once the media represent a wider range of views, including a fair balance of pro- and anti- capitalist perspectives, we might see a quiet revolution taking place in the West. However, the dilemma for progressives is that the media supports capitalism, and is also supported by it; it isn’t about to cede control without a fight.
      .
      With that all said, I agree in some part that capitalism has lifted a number of people out of poverty, and we in the West largely live rewarding lives because we are not languishing in traditional serfdom. However I would argue that these benefits were all realised before international globalisation – corporatism was at one stage a bit more moral, since no businessperson or politician could make a decision and not be exposed to its social result.
      .
      But now it is quite normal for an accountant or a factory worker or a computer programmer to go to work and to make a landmine or a missile system that will tear a child to shreds, and we all reckon this is the price of progress. Similarly, a financial elite in the IMF can make decisions that will reduce ordinary (say) Argentinians to penury, all in the name of perpetuating a system that is now making the inequality gap worse rather than better. So, perhaps anti-capitalists should be willing to acknowledge the improvements for the developed world during the pre-globalisation era; notwithstanding, the search for a more equitable system now is more necessary than ever.

  • mary

    If I switch on the TV one more time and see the repellent Danny Alexander issuing his edicts on retirement ages, the economy etc I will throw a brick at it. He is like the school sneak and thoroughly distasteful.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Angrysoba – It’s true that the total wealth of a country or the world can increase, but also true that if there’s a constant redistribution of wealth from the majority to a small minority, the majority and the poorest can get worse off even as the total pool of wealth increases, as billionaires and big firms take an ever increasing share of existing and newly produced wealth for themselves.

    e.g the economy in the US grows, leading to a rise in average incomes and in rent, pushing people who were unemployed and in poverty into homelessness as their income has not risen in line with the average (or hasn’t risen at all) but prices have risen.

    Most of the discussion of “redistribution of wealth” is about it being redistributed by government from the richest/those in work to the poor or unemployed. Most actual redistribution of wealth is carried out by deregulated markets and governments from the majority to a small minority who are already the wealthiest – e.g deregulation allows oligopolies which allow big firms to increase prices just because they can ; PFIs/PPPs given to private firms to run public services lead to tax increases and service cuts to provide vast profits to PFI consortia ; privatised rail firms in the UK continue to get huge government subsidies; arms firms, by having lobbyists in government and revolving doors between government and boardroom get big payments for white elephant projects like motorised armoured artillery and cold war era submarines in the US – and get to run vast cost over-runs in the UK, plus they get arms export credit guarantees, so if the dictatorship they’re arming doesn’t pay up, the taxpayer pays them

  • anno

    Philip Davies is morally challenged, poor man, but Thatcher was moral anti-matter. The new batch have got a patch on the old wind up merchants though. Douglas Hurd, John Redwood, Nigel Lawson etc were/still are foaming half-baked nonsense machines. Ian Dunka biscuit, soggy brained.

    The real one to watch is that old horse-fly sunning himself and watching for when your attention is turned away. Clegg is the one to give you an angry bump on your arm. He should have been swatted straight away.

  • mary

    £9 billion of our revenue has gone to the Eurozone to cover the bail outs yet we are not a member of it. Weird isn’t it?
    .
    In 2008, when George Osborne, as a private individual, hangs out in Corfu with a Russian oligarch (Oleg Deripaska), Nat Rothschild and Peter Mandelson, the British press has a field day with the gossip – Mandelson “dripping poison” about Osborne, and allegations that Osborne was grubbing around for party funds.
    .
    But in 2011, when Osborne spends four days, in his official role as chancellor of the exchequer, cooped up with Lord Mandelson, a Russian oligarch (Alexei Mordashov), and the former vice-chairman of Rothschild Europe (Franco Bernabè) – along with the president of the World Bank, the president of the European Central Bank, the Greek minister of finance, the queen of Spain, the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, the governor of the Belgium National Bank, the chairman of Goldman Sachs International, and the chief executive of Marks and Spencer …
    .
    This isn’t news.
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/16/bilderberg-2011-tipping-point
    There are other pieces by Charlie Skelton in the same vein.

  • mary

    PS The very titchy SIS operative? and now Con MP Rory Stewart was at Bilberberg too????

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