“THIS TORY GOVERNMENTS CUTS TO SCHOOLS ARE BETRAYING A GENERATION OF OUR CHILDREN. IF THE PM IS RIGHT, THEN THE PARENTS ARE WRONG, THE TEACHERS ARE WRONG, THE IFS IS WRONG, THE NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE IS WRONG, AND NOW THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE WHICH CONTAINS 8 CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS IS WRONG.
SO WHICH ORGANISATION BACKS THE PM ON HER EDUCATION CUTS?”
The Conservative Party’s biggest Donor, Lord Ashcroft, has not been heard from since he briefed against former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron. Ashcroft is the source behind the ‘PigGate’ scandal – where the Tory peer spelled out some of the things Cameron did whilst he was in school.
The lurid details of this have always been denied by the former Tory Party leader, but despite the fact the anti Tory ‘PigGate’ page was taken down from Facebook, curiously Ashcroft has not been sued for defamation, and nor has the Daily Mail hack Isabel Oakshott, who broke the story. Draw whatever conclusions from that information that you will.
Rumour in Westminster at the time had it that the Tory Peer was annoyed that Cameron had not offered him a place in the Coalition cabinet. Since then, ‘Cashcroft’ has been quiet, publicly. However, the Tory Party’s main cashcow has irons in many fires. One of those irons is a company called ‘Impellum’, and it is currently making a pretty penny out of the pigs ear the Tories are making of the British Education system.
The Tory ‘strategy’ on education for the last 7 years has lead to a crisis in staffing – there is an enormous supply shortage, which agencies like Impellum have been eagerly exploiting for years. Under Michael Gove the Tories began to move teacher recruitment away from University teacher training departments with their PGCE qualifications. He accused the system of being dominated by a so called ‘leftist blob’, and his solution to this was to make schools recruit “for themselves” under a programme called ‘School Direct’.
School Direct was run by an old Etonian friend of the Tory front benches, Charlie Taylor, and it was designed to essentially repeat the failed Conservative teacher training policies of the 1990s – like the NHS and Emergency services, running down a public service, driving down results so as to provide the excuse to invite the market in to ‘save the day’.
Gove’s successor stuck with the plans, and by the time Theresa May took over after Dodgy Dave’s cheerful ‘I can’t believe I got away with all that’ resignation, School direct was only filling 60% of the 15,000 trainee places the Dept of Education allotted to it. It turns out that schools, after years of budget cuts, haven’t got the time, the experience or the resources to recruit, on account of them being in the business of educating children, not recruitment.
“THERE ARE PLACES WHERE THE CUTS ARE SO BAD AND THE DEGREE OF CONCERN SO BIG THAT STRIKE ACTION IS A REAL POSSIBILITY. WE WILL CONSULT WITH COLLEAGUES IN THE REGIONS ABOUT THE READINESS OF MEMBERS TO DO THIS.
“IF JUSTINE GREENING ANNOUNCES THE FUNDING FORMULA IS CHANGING TO MAKE THINGS EVEN WORSE IN SOME AREAS, THAT WOULD BE VERY LIKELY TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF ANGER IN THOSE AREAS TO A POINT WHERE ACTION WILL TAKE PLACE.” NUT’S GENERAL SECRETARY, KEVIN COURTNEY
The “leftist blob” in the traditional University system, PGCE, meanwhile managed to fill over 90% of the 23,000 places allotted to them by the Dept. of Education. This is bad news for everyone. the British Taxpayer, the Students, the Teachers, and the country’s future. So why is it happening?
Because it benefits the Tories. Or to be more specific, it benefits the Tory’s main donor – Lord Cashcroft.
According to the National Union of Teachers, teacher agencies are now taking up £733 million a year from the Education Budget, and that is set to increase under Theresa May’s education plans.
In some subjects like physics and maths, teacher shortages are so acute the Dept of Education are having to recruit from abroad – in one case an recruitment firm brought in 60 teachers from Jamaica, simultaneously undermining the pay & conditions of teachers in the UK whilst ‘brain draining’ the economy and education establishment of Jamaica. We shouldn’t need to poach other country’s teacher when they need them more than we do, we should be able to train our own teachers.
“THE PRIME MINISTER IS IN DENIAL. HAS THE PRIME MINISTER FAILED AT MATHS, OR FAILED TO READ HER OWN MANIFESTO?” – L. GREENWOOD, THE LABOUR PARTY
Impellum, chaired by Lord Cashcroft and 52% owned by the ‘Lombard Trust Fund’ he set up to pass his wealth to his children without paying tax, runs many recruitment firms. In 2015 it bought Career Teachers Ltd for £30 million, adding it to its smaller agency, Celsian. The new acquisition bumped £3 million of Dept of Education money into Lord Cashcrofts coffers.
Cashcrofts other ventures include the supposedly independent polling company, ‘Ashcroft Polling’ as well as the “grassroots” (more accurately astroturf) Tory website ‘ConservativeHome’ – both of which Cashcroft used to support the whole Tory Education agenda from which he is now so richly profiting.
Money, and donors, are more important to the Tories than the needs of the British public because their membership is in a literal death spiral. The average age of their paid up members is above retirement age, and unlike Labour under Corbyn, there is no surge of new blood coming in to fill the ranks. This is why Cashcroft wasn’t expelled from the Tory Party for the Piggate scandal – they need his money more than they needed the former Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Your children are having their education pilfered and flogged off to appease the whims of men like this.
“I’ve had enough. It’s just too much. Nothing gets changed by sitting around and discussing.
“We can sit and discuss until we are blue in the face.
“The government are not accepting our nice words. We need to show them we are serious.”
Cleo Lewis, NUT delegate from Lewisham