>Since September 2007 I have been covering a small yet very powerful protest in my own area, the Tent City Occupation.
Four videos were recently posted to YouTube to highlight the Wembley teachers campaign to halt the privatisation of UK state education and save the Wembley sports ground from coming under the control of Academy School funder ARK, run by French/Swiss financier Arki Busson.
This is one of the issues behind a now national campaign, supported by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), to keep private interests out of all education. The money comes from the UK taxpayer, which the private investors are then able to make a profit from, at the expense of children’s education – profit from public money. It is not a new concept. Since the beginning of Britain’s public sector sell-off, taxpayer’s money has gone into the pockets of the private sector – from refuse collection and elderly care to the buses and trains.
The other issue with private investment taking over education is what control those investors have on the school curriculum with four of 10 academies opening in the space of one week in 2005 being run by evangelical Christian groups.
Another academy horror story I have picked up while following this story was the creation of a telesales call centre being opened up at one school to replace other extra-curricular activities.
Months of petitions and written opposition followed the Arki Busson Invasion, both from the teachers and a majority of the public in Brent. But, from the regular email updates I received, it was to no avail. The government, local and national, were not listening to their people.
It would seem this issue is not going away. And neither are the protestors or the opposition to the Wembley Academy.
Reel News has been covering the academisation of the UK education system since the beginning. Issue 12 and 13 both contain films on the protests and campaigns. Copies of the 90-minute DVDs on national and international campaigns, protests and investigations by a team of uncompromising journalists and activists can be obtained from the website.
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All stills and video footage (c) Jason N. Parkinson 2008.
Please contact the author for access to the extensive four-year video archive.