Vestas bosses involved in Academy bid on Isle of Wight

Submitted by martin on 23 August, 2009 - 10:27
Vestas

Another front in the Vestas jobs battle has been opened by the involvement of Vestas Technology in a plan to transform almost all the Isle of Wight's schools into Academies (privatised schools receiving public money but run by their business sponsors).

In a letter endorsing the Academies bid, Vestas Technology boss Rob Sauven says: "(We are) committed to helping raise educational standards on the Island and to supporting sustainable schools. We would in particular like to encourage the education curriculum to further students' understanding of the planet from the sustainability perspective and to explore the options we have to live sustainably."

Wouldn't schools, and the island economy, be more sustainable if Vestas handed over the blade factories to the Government and let the Government make the necessary investment to enable green-energy production to continue on the island and students to have a better chance of a green job to go to?

According to the one Labour councillor on the Tory-controlled county council, Geoff Lumley, the front-runner in a "competition" for school reorganisation being run by the Isle of Wight council is the Academies Enterprise Trust, an organisation with charitable status endorsed by Vestas Technology, with a scheme to establish an island "Academy Trust" which will manage the great majority of the island's schools, secondary and primary, as Academies under its umbrella - "a federation of seven schools, consisting of five academies, from the five high schools, and the two primary clusters. These seven institutions will be brought under a single island based management structure".

In its pitch, the AET lists its "local partners" as "Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry, Isle of Wight College, Primary Care Trust, UKSA , Quay Arts, Quarr Group, and Vestas Technology UK". Actually "partner" seems to mean little more than that Vestas and other bosses have written letters endorsing AET; but even that link taints the AET bid, and Academies are bad enough anyway.

As of present, Geoff Lumley says, he is an opposition of one on the council to the Academies scheme, but Vestas workers and supporters plan to add their voice. The full council meeting to make the final decision on Academies is 30 September, 18:00 in the Council Chamber at Newport.

Comments

Submitted by martin on Sun, 23/08/2009 - 10:31

1. The rules of the 'competition' set up to ensure re-structuring of the Island's schools accept that none of the current schools on the Island would "qualify" (their word) for Academy status. But the 'competition' provides a way to sidestep this awkward fact.

2. Jerry Glazier, NUT Exec Member for Essex, sits on the AET Trust Board. Furthermore, he has provide a letter (published in the AET promotional material forwarding their bid) which endorses AET despite acknowledging that it remains NUT policy to oppose Academies. How he can get away as an Exec Member with so directly and flagrantly contravening union policy beats me. AET has set up several Academies in Essex.

3. Members of AET Advisory Board include Lord Mawson, who sits on St Paul's Way Interim Executive Board (the unelected body imposed to run the school) and is heavily involved in the 'regeneration' project for that part of London, and Barry Day, Executive Principal of Nottingham Academy.

4. AET offers private health care for teaching and non-teaching staff.

5. AET schools run an extended day offering 3 x 100 minute lessons.

6. AET proposes to require students to choose either a Vocational or an Academic pathway not at the end of Yr 9, which is I think the current trend, but in Yr 8. While there are complex arguments around the making-available of 'vocational' courses for school-students, the proposal that this choice kick in when students are 13 years old is innovatory, and open to significant criticism. It further limits the opportunity for all students to access a broad and balanced curriculum.

7. AET has a partnership arrangement with Pearson Educational, part of Pearson Plc. This company owns Edexcel, the privatised exam-board. Partnership would give Pearson preferential status, potentially allowing them to become monopoly-provider of services, materials and suchlike. An example of how Academy-schools, non-profit-making in themselves, open state education yet more widely to private profit. I think Edexcel still charges the highest exam-fees, thereby diverting some of the significant public funding which pays these fees into the pockets of private shareholders (as dividend) and directors (as salary).

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