30 May 2012
Commenting on Michael Gove’s remarks to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The Education Secretary appears to have used the platform of the Leveson Inquiry to drop a heavy hint that free schools are likely to be allowed to make a profit in the event of the Conservatives winning a second term.
“The NUT has been clear all along that the free schools policy was driven by the expectation of profits for those proprietors setting such schools up.
“As we know the majority of these schools are opening in areas where there is no need for additional schools place and at a time when existing state schools are being squeezed for funds.
“It is well known that in Sweden one of the major ways in which schools make profits is by employing non-qualified staff to do the jobs of teachers. Michael Gove has already made it within the law that free schools are not required to employ qualified teachers. However, since this policy was implemented in Sweden the country has fallen down the international league tables, class sizes have increased and equity has got worse.
“The free schools policy is a licence for the private sector to make money and is not in the interest of children, families or the taxpayer.”