Google Ads for Academy businesses

Tracy Hannigan's picture
 5
FYI I figured this would start happening, but today I saw my first google adwords above my mailbox for a company who is advertising (apparently) to help set up free schools. Funny, the actual link provided just keeps defaulting to the main page, they have not even bothered to set it up! The real link to the free schools stuff is elsewhere. The actual text below:

Academies Act - Setting up a free school? Talk to our academy team today here
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Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 21/06/2011 - 09:31

There are many firms waiting in the wings to take over services provided by local authorities once schools convert to academy status. These firms wouldn't be in the market if they didn't think a profit could be made out of providing services which local authorities had provided. The argument is that academies can shop around for the best deal for their administrative and legal duties, and they may find a cheaper option (although this isn't always the case, as some recently-converted academies have discovered - their schools administration systems licence is hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds dearer than the cost of purchasing it from the local authority).

However, while schools are busy shopping around for these supposedly cheaper deals, they are being distracted from their main purpose: educating the children in their care. And being able to decide which services to purchase and which to discard can bring dangers. Geoff Barton, head of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, writing in the Times Educational Supplement had this to say about LA services and the challenge of academization:

"LAs brought benefits that individual schools couldn't prove: the unsexy stuff (grounds maintenance, financial services) and the important bits (county-wide music provision)... as the age of austerity bites and the culture of ring-fencing fades from view, it allows us to raid pots of money previously reserved for things like music services."

Mr Barton lists the value of LA-provided music services before warning that services such as these could disappear because "it won't take many academy heads in a county or authority to say they no longer wish to contribute to the service for music provision to disappear."

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6088626

There's not much profit to be made from providing such things a music services. Schools, and parents, should beware before rushing headlong into academy conversion.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 21/06/2011 - 10:21

There are two opposing takes on for-profit making intentions in schools today. The first is a piece by Warwick Mansell and Jeevan Vasagar in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/20/mossbourne-academy-propo... saying that Wey Education, which is led by the former chair of Ofsted Zenna Atkins, intends to "play a major role as an outsource provider of management services to schools providing state education … taking control of all aspects of the day-to-day running of such schools". However, according to Toby Young http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100093060/can-private-firms-... she has shot herself in the foot as it won’t be happening under the coalition any time soon.

I wonder. On at least two occasions, Michael Gove has stated that he is “not ideologically opposed” to the principle, which hints that it will be introduced once the coalition feels the country can stomach the idea, perhaps at a time when enforced Academization and Free School-ery is part of the landscape. Indeed, given that the government itself has admitted that the programme is unsustainable and we are in a recession, free market forces in schools is surely an attractive solution, and one which sites comfortably with at least the Tory side of the coalition favouring privatising public services?

Toby’s “oh if only this could happen!” attitude is the Right’s way of preparing us for the change when it comes. At the moment, it’s “no we won’t be doing this, very reluctant, really..” until such times as the political moment is right for them to say, “well…maybe we should do this after all. Money is tight and it’s not as if the ASI Institute report http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/05/james-croft-admits-that-fr...
hadn’t already recommended we do it”.

This site has posted various articles about profit-making companies sniffing around state education so today’s news is actually not news here. They are active already in some Independent Schools and there have been problems, for example at Southbank International School http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/04/why-profit-making-free-sch... who are in open revolt with Cognita.

School Reform here is based on the US and Swedish models, and both have had to court private money to sustain the programme of growth, given extra momentum and drive by President Obama. Their failures – and the litigation they have engendered - are well documented in America, and on a number of postings on this site, and ought to serve our government as a warning not to allow for-profit making companies into state schools. But just two days ago, Gove was praising the American system and also Joel Klein, ex-Chancellor of Education in New York City, who critics claim left a legacy of chaos, fear and segregation in New York schools. Joel Klein is now CEO of the Education Division at Rupert Murdoch’s New Corp. I wonder why? There’s money to be made in education and at education’s expense and sadly this chimes in synchronization with Tory ideals. We must resist it.

Ian Taylor's picture
Tue, 21/06/2011 - 15:16

http://bit.ly/kqRwMY Here is the type of story Mr Gove does not publicise.
It leads to this http://bit.ly/lFTJt9 and that was after spending £45 million.
So Academies not all good.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 21/06/2011 - 19:56

There are two opposing takes on for-profit making intentions in schools today. The first is a piece by Warwick Mansell and Jeevan Vasagar in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/20/mossbourne-academy-propo... saying that Wey Education, which is led by the former chair of Ofsted Zenna Atkins, intends to “play a major role as an outsource provider of management services to schools providing state education … taking control of all aspects of the day-to-day running of such schools”. However, according to Toby Young http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100093060/can-private-firms-... she has shot herself in the foot as it won’t be happening under the coalition any time soon.

I wonder. On at least two occasions, Michael Gove has stated that he is “not ideologically opposed” to the principle, which hints that it will be introduced once the coalition feels the country can stomach the idea, perhaps at a time when enforced Academization and Free School-ery is part of the landscape. Indeed, given that the government itself has admitted that the programme is unsustainable and we are in a recession, free market forces in schools is surely an attractive solution, and one which sites comfortably with at least the Tory side of the coalition favouring privatising public services?

Toby’s “oh if only this could happen!” attitude is the Right’s way of preparing us for the change when it comes. At the moment, it’s “no we won’t be doing this, very reluctant, really..” until such times as the political moment is right for them to say, “well…maybe we should do this after all. Money is tight and it’s not as if the ASI Institute report http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/05/james-croft-admits-that-fr...
hadn’t already recommended we do it”.

This site has posted various articles about profit-making companies sniffing around state education so today’s news is actually not news here. They are active already in some Independent Schools and there have been problems, for example at Southbank International School http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/04/why-profit-making-free-sch... who are in open revolt with Cognita.

School Reform here is based on the US and Swedish models, and both have had to court private money to sustain the programme of growth, given extra momentum and drive by President Obama. Their failures – and the litigation they have engendered – are well documented in America, and on a number of postings on this site, and ought to serve our government as a warning not to allow for-profit making companies into state schools. But just two days ago, Gove was praising the American system and also Joel Klein, ex-Chancellor of Education in New York City, who critics claim left a legacy of chaos, fear and segregation in New York schools. Joel Klein is now CEO of the Education Division at Rupert Murdoch’s New Corp. I wonder why? There’s money to be made in education and at education’s expense and sadly this chimes in synchronization with Tory ideals. We must resist it.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 22/06/2011 - 17:48

Zenna Atkins was reported in the Times Educational Supplement as saying there's nothing wrong with firms like hers profiting from state education provision. I'm not sure parents would be too pleased if they thought that money which could have been spent on their children's education was being paid to profit-making companies.

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6082601

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