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PM pledges more school sell-offs

Cameron uses ‘standards’ as cover for privatisation plan

TORY leader David Cameron threatened a massive new era of English schools privatisation yesterday under cover of a “zero-tolerance” approach to academic failure.

In a policy speech in the north London borough of Enfield the Prime Minister said that he wanted to give “every child the best start in life.”

The key to this, he claimed, was “rigour,” “discipline,” “zero tolerance for failure” — and plans to turn thousands of schools into privately run academies.

Any secondary judged by inspectors to “require improvement” would face a forced transfer of ownership.

As many as 3,500 schools could fall victim to the plans.

Hailing his government’s “education revolution” that has passed control over schools from local authorities to a hotchpotch of private groups, Mr Cameron said: “We’ve seen that academies work.”

And he declared the Tories’ massively over-budget free schools a success too.

But the claims were rubbished by teachers who pointed to a raft of recent evidence that found no link between academies and academic success.

MPs on the education select committee and public accounts committee and the National Audit Office have all criticised ministers’ record recently.

In the case of free schools, which allow groups to set up their own schools using public funds diverted from elsewhere, the Tories overspent by a whopping £1 billion.

National Union of Teachers deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney condemned the PM’s “emperor’s new clothes approach to education.”

He said: “The academies and free schools programme has nothing to do with standards but everything to do with a privatisation agenda.

“For David Cameron, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Schools Minister Nick Gibb to all be spouting about the benefits of academy status for schools deemed to be requiring improvement is extraordinary to say the least.

“How much more evidence does the government need before it admits that its academy and free school programme has failed?

“It has failed on standards, failed on transparency, failed on accountability and failed to secure the trust of the public.”

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