A secret memo has emerged in which Michael Gove’s plans to privatise academies and free schools is revealed. This comes as no surprise to those campaign groups like us, along with the main teacher unions, who have been claiming this was Gove’s intention all along. Minutes of a meeting of top DfE ‘brass’ back in October have been leaked and show that they were considering “reclassifying academies to the private sector” to cut government costs. The massive expansion of academies and free schools is simply costing too much money. The leaked minutes state: “it is difficult to see how we could manage expansion of the academies and free schools programme much beyond 5,000 without increasing central resource.” Two options were on the table at the meeting: grouping the academies and free schools into chains or trusts, a bit like the NHS trusts, which would be allocated a limited budget to divide between schools OR, more radically, to reclassify them to the private sector in an arrangement similar to the one adopted to privatise the FE sector.
With the fracas over the EBACC u-turn this week and Gove unashamedly continuing along the same path with a radical overhaul of the GCSE and A level systems, in the face of great opposition, it is increasingly obvious that Gove is an out-of-control ‘loose cannon’ bent on refashioning the education system to conform to his own ideological prejudices.