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GMB Slam Academy Conversion For Schools

Friday, March 18, 2016
GMB Slam Government Plan To Convert All Schools To Academies By 2022

This plan will pave the way for trusts to profiteer from our state education system which is funded by the taxpayer says GMB.

GMB commented on the announcement in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget that all primary and secondary schools would be forced to become academies by 2020 or have plans in place to do so by 2022. (See notes to editors for a previous GMB press release about the budget)

Currently, 4,515 schools are academies leaving 15,632 still to convert over the next six years. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said it was clear converting all schools to academies would entail additional costs.

Academies are independently run, state-funded schools receiving their funding directly from the Department for Education, severing the link between local authorities and schools. Instead, oversight for academies is handed to one of only eight Regional School Commissioners across England.

Academies do not follow national pay scales for teachers or support staff and have the option to opt out of the national curriculum.

Avril Chambers, GMB national officer, said "This announcement opens the door to privatisation of our education system. It removes schools from local accountability and democracy thereby removing the freedom of choice for local communities.

Significant powers will be given to unelected civil servants with parents and communities unable to hold them to account. Ultimately, it will pave the way for trusts to profiteer from our state education system which is funded by the taxpayer.

GMB already represents tens of thousands of staff in existing academy schools. We will continue to organise, represent and campaign for the interests of school staff and students as their schools are forced to convert to academies."

Contact: Avril Chambers, on 07974 251766 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press release dated Wednesday 16th March 2016

GMB Condemn Budget That Does Nothing For Members In The NHS And Care Sector

A failed plan from a failed Chancellor who doesn't live in the real world says GMB.

GMB commented on the budget and responded to the Chancellor George Osborne's warning that “storm clouds are gathering' by laying the blame squarely at the doorstep of Number 11. After 6 years with an austerity Chancellor, there is no one else to blame, the government’s plan has failed.

GMB – who represents thousands of workers who are worse off every time the Chancellor takes to the despatch box – condemned measures that will:

· See further annual cuts of £3.5 billion by 2020, while continuing with the crippling £22 billion of 'efficiency savings' in the NHS

· Completely ignores the crisis in care while continuing with the crippling £22 billion of 'efficiency savings' in the NHS

· Introduce yet another cut in corporation tax for the wealthiest companies at the same time as cutting support for those with disabilities, showing exactly where his priorities lie

· Force all primary and secondary schools to convert to academies by 2022, in effect outsourcing the education of our young people and removing local, democratic accountability from education

The reality of the economy is that:

· While the Chancellor loses sleep over his deficit figures, thousands of people are paying their bills on a credit card or through pay day lenders. The UK population owes a total of £1.46 trillion pounds. Most working people would love to save for a rainy day; it's a luxury they can't afford.

· Boasts about employment figures ignore the reality of the working world - growing insecurity and the use of zero hour contracts on the rise

· Our manufacturing industry still hasn't recovered to 2008 levels and our steel industry that is being allowed to sink without a trace

· Warm words on a budget for the next generation aren't matched by fair pay for young workers - the national minimum wage increase announced in this budget don't come close to the living wage people need to live on.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said “The Chancellor has missed so many of his own economic targets that in the real world of work he’d have been laid off long ago. It's like setting your own test questions but still managing to fail the exam.

He tried to balance the books on the backs of working people and at the expense of our public services - it hasn't worked, it won't work and it's wrong. By clinging to his failed austerity policies he's not only making life harder for thousands of people in the here and now, he's putting the future of UK jobs, skills and industry at risk.

To say this was a budget for future generations is laughable when this Chancellor has presided over policies that have seen the trebling of university tuition fees and removal of maintenance grants, the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance for working class kids and an axe taken to the further education sector that we need to equip people for the changing world of work.”


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