Stephen Twigg warns against 'quick buck' school profit
Published: 31st May 2012 07:55:00
Introducing profit-making into state schools in England risks attracting firms looking for a "quick buck", says Labour's Stephen Twigg.
The shadow education secretary says he was shocked that Education Secretary Michael Gove appeared to be considering free schools being run for profit.
Mr Gove had told the Leveson Inquiry on Tuesday that he had an "open mind" on such profit making in the future.
But Mr Twigg says such a change "risks the abuse of public resources".
Labour's education spokesman is to warn against profit-making in state schools in a speech to head teachers in London, later on Thursday.
"There are real risks attached to the profit-making experiment," he is set to tell a conference about education standards in London.
If there is an operating surplus, that should be invested back into educating our children rather than paying a dividend to shareholders”
"It risks attracting people to our education system simply who wish to make a quick buck.
"It risks the abuse of public resources at a time when it is even more important that we ensure that every penny of taxpayers' money is spent wisely."
Mr Twigg says he has just returned from Sweden, one of the inspirations for free schools - state-funded schools set up by charities or community groups.
But unlike in England, free schools in Sweden can be run for profit - and Mr Twigg will tell head teachers that this is raising concerns.
"One of the biggest is that it allows companies to run a free school for a period of time and then sell it on at a profit," says Mr Twigg.
"I don't believe that the profit-making motive is what will improve educational outcomes in schools in our country.
"If there is an operating surplus, that should be invested back into educating our children rather than paying a dividend to shareholders."
There are some of my colleagues in the coalition who are very sceptical of the benefits of profit. I have an open mind”
Mr Twigg will tell head teachers that Michael Gove had given his "strongest hint that he could allow companies to make a profit from running schools".
This followed an exchange at the Leveson Inquiry, when Mr Gove was asked about the prospect of free schools being run for profit.
Mr Gove had said that "the free-school movement can thrive without profit".
When he was further pressed whether it would be desirable to generate a profit, Mr Gove said: "There are some of my colleagues in the coalition who are very sceptical of the benefits of profit. I have an open mind."
The education secretary was then asked about the "aspiration" that a second-term Conservative-led government would allow free schools to be run for profit.
Mr Gove replied: "It's my belief that we could move to that situation," adding: "But I think at the moment it's important to recognise that the free-schools movement is succeeding without that element, and I think we should cross that bridge when we come to it."
At present, free schools cannot be run for profit - but the trusts that run them can buy management services from profit-making firms.
There have been criticisms from teachers' unions about the blurring of this boundary.
The NASUWT criticised the £21m contract awarded to a profit-making Swedish company for managing a free school in Suffolk.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "This government has no plans to allow free schools or academies to make profit.
"Any income earned by the charitable trust must be reinvested to improve and advance education for pupils."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Stephen Twigg warns against 'quick buck' school profit [Online] (Updated 31st May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431978/Stephen-Twigg-warns-against-quick-buck-school-profit [Accessed 7th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Kent have announced a pre-interest and pre-tax profit of £156,778 for the financial year to November 2013.
A poem about the killing of PC Keith Blakelock during riots in north London was written by the man accused of his murder, a court has heard.