The sponsor for one of Nottingham's three proposed Academies has been announced. All along the City Council reassured us that the sponsors would be ‘respectable’ – hinting at the possibility of the University Hospital stumping up come cash. So far it’s been difficult to motivate much reaction against the proposals but like manna from heaven the announcement was made.
The sponsor is to be multi-millionaire David Samworth who made his money from pork pies and Cornish pasties. What exactly Mr Samworth knows about education is up for debate but the £2million he invests will buy all the influence he needs.
To give some credit to those desperate souls at the Council, Samworth’s money will be fronted by the University of Nottingham – ever keen to extend their educational empire. They may hope that this softens reaction but the potential for ridicule remains (any suggestions around the themes of a ‘Pigs Ear’ and ‘Animal Farm’ greatly welcomed). One other potential factor that may help a campaign is the gross cultural insensitivity involved – will Jewish, Muslim and Rastafarian parents (Nottingham has all three) want to send their kids to a school funded on the profits of pork products?
The fact remains that whoever the sponsor the Academy scheme is nothing more than part of a process of privatisation in education. It’s only a pity that this Labour controlled council can’t be persuaded to reject the scheme as others have done.