TTIP and Education Provision in the UK
A direct consequence of TTIP – It is anticipated state education will be dismantled over an extended period of 10 years to be replaced with Schools free from Council Controls – changes will apply in all countries making up the UK and NI – Rupert Murdoch has been reorganising News International bringing in educationalists anticipating major investment in education delivery in time.
More than 3,000 new independent schools would be set up by a Conservative Government in the most radical shake-up of British education since the war. This week’s Tory conference will be told the local authority monopoly over schools would be abolished within weeks of the party coming to power – a move that would almost certainly trigger mass strikes. Scores of ‘bog standard’ comprehensives could be driven out of business by ‘free schools’, funded by the taxpayer but with a private school ethos. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1063398/Tories-promise-3-000-independent-schools-parent-power-revolution.html
27 July 2011: News Corp looking to set up its own free schools in the UK and NI
Of all the meetings that cabinet ministers had with News International executives (on average, a member of the cabinet met a Murdoch executive every three days), it is Michael Gove’s that are the most eye catching. The Education Secretary listed 11 meetings at which executives from the company were present, including seven with Rupert Murdoch. Gove met the News Corp head more times than any other minister.
Here’s the full list:
19 May 2010 Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, plus more than ten others. Dinner and general discussion.
10 June 2010 Rebekah Brooks, plus several others. Dinner and general discussion.
17 June 2010 Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks and News International executives and senior editors. Lunch and general discussion.
21 October 2010 Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, James Harding (The Times), Dominic Mohan (The Sun), James Murdoch (News Corporation), Colin Myler (News of the World), John Witherow (Sunday Times) plus more than ten others. Dinner after Centre for Policy Studies lecture.
30 November 2010 Rebekah Brooks, Will Lewis (News International), James Harding (The Times). Academy visit.
17 December 2010 Rebekah Brooks, plus several others. Social.
25 January 2011 Joel Klein (now News Corporation, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and Assistant Attorney General to President Clinton), visiting UK as guest of DfE to explain and discuss US education policy success, including large conference platform and assorted dinners with senior figures from education and the media, including Rupert Murdoch. Including private and public events https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Klein
31 January 2011 Rebekah Brooks, plus several others. Dinner hosted by Academy sponsor Charles Dunstone.
19 May 2011 James Harding (The Times), Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch (News Corporation), Rebekah Brooks. Breakfast and general discussion.
16 June 2011 Rupert Murdoch plus several others. Dinner and general discussion.
26 June 2011 Rupert Murdoch , plus several others. Dinner and general discussion.
It all suggests, as Andy Burnham said, a rather strange set of priorities. The shadow education secretary noted that in his first seven months, Gove “didn’t manage to visit a single sixth form college, further education college or special school.”
So, what’s the explanation? Gove is, of course, a former Times journalist, who, we know from the register of members’ interests, received £5,000 a month for his weekly column. He is also due to write a biography of Viscount Bolingbroke for the Murdoch-owned Harper Collins. Then there’s his friendship with Murdoch consigliere Joel Klein (he sat next to Wendi Deng at the select committee hearing).
The former chancellor of the New York department of education, who is now the head of News Corp’s new “management and standards committee” and the CEO of its growing education division. Significantly, it was Klein’s charter schools that served as one of the key inspirations for Gove’s “free schools” project.
A spokesman for Gove said: “He’s known Rupert Murdoch for over a decade. He did not discuss the BSkyB deal with the Murdochs and isn’t at all embarrassed about his meetings, most of which have been about education which is his job.” The News Corp head, it seems, is taking an increasing interest in the subject.
At last month’s Times CEO summit he called for all pupils to be provided with tablet computers, adding that he would be “thrilled” if 10 per cent of News Corp’s revenues came from education in the next five years. Wireless Generation, an education technology company recently acquired by Murdoch for $360m, was awarded a a $27 million no-bid contract by the New York education department. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/ceo-summit/article3070325.ece
It begs the question of whether News Corp is looking to set up its own free schools. In response to such a query, Times columnist and executive editor Daniel Finkelstein tweeted: “News Corp is indeed taking an interest in the creation of new schools. That is precisely what mtgs were about!”
Update: The Sun’s former political editor George Pascoe Watson (now a partner at Portland Communications) notes on Twitter “Is News Corp looking to set up its own free schools? The Sun+Civitas already have done.” A glance at the Civitas website shows that the Sun funds a Saturday school at the Ensign Youth Club in Wapping. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/07/murdoch-news-education
6 March 2015: David Cameron plans a huge expansion of controversial fee schools.
The Prime Minister will announce plans for at least 153 new ones on top of the 255 already open. Mr Cameron will say: “Every time I celebrate the opening of a fee school… I’m so glad, that many more parents can share the peace of mind you feel when your child is getting a great education.” Since 2010 parents have been able to set up fe schools, but some closed due to bad management.
The draft speech was sent to axed fee school architect Michael Gove but not the current Education Secretary. According to the leaked draft of the speech, Mr Cameron will say: “We’re going to dramatically expand the fee schools programme.
I am announcing 48 new ones. “And I’m saying that if you vote Conservative, at least 153 will open in the next Parliament – providing 100,000 good school places.” Fee schools were introduced in 2010 to allow parents and community groups to set up their own establishments.
9 July 2015: EU Parliament backs TTIP resolution
Despite vocal criticism, the EU Parliament has approved a non-binding resolution on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, bridging a gap in protracted negotiations on the secretive trade pact between the EU and the US.
The resolution was approved by the majority of the parliament with 436 ‘Yes’ votes coming up against 241 ‘No’ votes in Strasbourg on Wednesday in hopes of influencing the TTIP negotiations between European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom and the USA.
Washington insists that for negotiations to be successful a dispute body must be incorporated into the final agreement.
19 February 2015: Tories in Scotland attempt to get Schools to opt-out
Ruth Davidson Tory Party Leader in Scotland, at First Ministers questions, sought to get the First Minister to agree to release a primary school in East Dunbartonshire from local authority control.
As a proponent of the fee schools model being deployed in England, Davidson questioned whether the Scottish Government would, in accordance with the parents’ wishes, allow the school to be transferred away from the local authority and into a trust.
This comes on the back of the First Minister stating in December that she would listen with an open mind to any suggestion that would improve Scotland’s education system.
Sturgeon agreed to meet with the parents, listen to their concerns, and if required explain to them why she would not allow any possibly transfer.
However, she refused Davidson’s request for a ‘Parents Power’ law, which would enable such transfers to occur.