Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Exposed – the real political agenda at Worthing High

Porkbolter reveals Beer and Cohen’s national role

FEELINGS are running high over the bid to turn Worthing High School into an Academy, a controversial and unpopular move which could be forced through over the next few weeks.

And concerns are hardly likely to be lessened by government minister Michael Gove’s announcement that academies will, in future, not even have to employ qualified teachers.

Parents and staff at Worthing High – where there has be even been a one-day protest strike – have been enraged by the way headteacher Alison Beer and chairman of governors Tony Cohen have dismissed their opposition and refused meaningful dialogue.

Such has been the duo’s anxiety to avoid their critics that they even switched a governors’ meeting away from the school in South Farm Road because there was a protest outside, fleeing to the safe refuge of Mr Cohen’s Nsure business premises.

The pro-Academy clique have been quick to dismiss opposition to their plans as “political”.

Worthing Herald columnist Ian Hart, for instance, admitted publicly he was a Worthing High governor in the May 31 edition of the paper.

A couple of weeks later, on June 14, he felt emboldened to weigh in on the controversy, declaring: “I do get the feeling some people are opposed to it for merely political reasons and nothing to do with the future education of our youngsters.”

Mr Hart, a commentator whose views, as The Porkbolter has previously pointed out, could kindly be described as very right-wing, obviously hopes readers will fail to spot that he may have his very own “political reasons” for supporting the bid.

And, indeed, the whole policy of transferring our schools out of public control and into the hands of unaccountable business-style organisations is nothing if not political in origin.

There are even a number of organisations in existence whose sole purpose seems to be to promote the gradual conversion of public education into state-funded training for the future workforces of those wealth-creating heroes of “the business community”.

One of these is “Education and Employers”, which explains on its website (www.educationandemployers.org) that it is “committed to deepening relationships between schools and colleges and employers”.

Its Taskforce Trustees, chaired by David Cruickshank, chairman of Deloitte LLP, include Don Robert, chief executive of Experian plc; John Griffith-Jones, chairman of KPMG; Sir Richard Lambert, former director general of the CBI; Terry Duddy, chief executive of the Home Retail Group; Sir William Castell, chairman of the Wellcome Trust; Rod Bristow, chairman of Pearson UK and Peter Dart, director of WPP plc.

Former trustees include bosses of Rolls-Royce, Rothschild and HSBC – all the sort of people who have made Britain the marvellously egalitarian place it is today.

Education and Employers has also set up an Expert Group of Governance, (http://www.educationandemployers.org/who-we-are/expert-working-groups/expert-working-group-on-governance/) which declares: “Enhancing the partnership between education and employers in the governing of our schools – and indeed through the governing of our schools – is clearly an important and substantial matter.”

Since the whole organisation seems geared up to facilitate a business takeover of our children’s education, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the Expert Group of Governance is so blatant about its agenda – openly admitting that it aims to use the governing of our schools to open the doors to private companies and their requirements.

But more startling for Worthing people is that our little town seems to be somewhat overrepresented on the Expert Group – it only has 20 members and two of them are from here.

And who are they? None other than Tony Cohen of Nsure, chairman of the governors at Worthing High, and Alison Beer, headteacher at the very same Worthing High!

The Porkbolter asks the Worthing public to consider which side in this controversy is the one with the real hidden political agenda.

* Opponents of the Worthing High academy bid are urged to sign a new petition on the county council’s website:

http://epetition.westsussex.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/1952

Worthing High Academy Action Group can be contacted at worthinghighacademyactiongroup@hotmail.com

This article is online at http://www.eco-action.org/porkbolter/hogblog.html