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(en) SchNEWS 463, Friday 23rd July, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 23 Jul 2004 06:36:45 +0200 (CEST)


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PAY AS YOU LEARN
"Only some parents have the luxury of being able to transport
their children across a city or a rural county. Only some parents
can fight their way through an admissions system that allows
individual schools to set their own criteria. That is not choice:
that is a test of parents' ability to fight their way through a
morass of admissions schemes and is a recipe for selection by
schools." - Steve Sinnott, National Union of Teachers
Earlier this month Neo Labour announced their five year plan for
education, a plan to end the comprehensive schools system in
England and replace it with a network of specialist schools,
foundation schools and city academies. This "new breed" of schools
will give greater freedoms for headteachers to set everything from
the wages they pay their teachers to what sort of kids are allowed
in the school, and give parents more 'choice' where they send
their kids. It will also open the back door even further for
private companies to get involved in education.

The city academy programme was created in March 2000 as "a radical
approach to promote greater diversity and break the cycle of
failing schools in inner cities". This idea was similar to Fresh
Start, closing a school with a poor reputation to reopen it with a
designer name change. One of these Fresh Start schools was Comart
on the Whitehawk estate in Brighton rebuilt under the Private
Finance Iniatitive by Jarvis (see SchNEWS 424). This new state of
the art Fresh Start school is now to be closed - although
unfortunately under the PFI terms it won't be that simple - or
cheap. Jarvis was given a contract to build and run Comart for 25
years and closing it means that the Council will have to pay a
financial penalty - which some say could be up to £17 million!

Kevin Dale, from the Local Education Action Group who fought to
keep Comart open and turn it into a smaller community school, said
to SchNEWS "We are told the school should play a bigger role in
the community and we agree. But if the school wants to do anything
after 6pm, at weekends or during the holidays it's impossible
financially because they will be charged by Jarvis for using its
own building!"

Jarvis accepted responsiblity for the Potters Bar train crash in
which 7 people died, after it was shown that their safety
inspections failed to find cracks in the rails they were
responsible for maintaining. However with Jarvis now in financial
meltdown SchNEWS wonders who will take over this 'failing'company?

Despite this, two hundred new academies are now in the pipeline,
despite any full evaluation of how well the first lot have done.
Mostly funded by the government and partly by private
organisations, their overall budget is £5 billion and rising with
many questioning whether this is the best use of resources. As one
Local Education Authority officer put it: "There will be less
money for all other schools, so they will suffer in comparison."
Still it's good news for sponsors who will only have to stump up
8% or less of capital costs, and for their money, will get all
future costs such as teachers salaries, overheads, etc. guaranteed
by public money - forever. In return for the cash, sponsors are
given the right to rename the school and to control the board of
governors. As academies are independent of the local education
authority, sponsors are also free to influence the curriculum. So
will we have more organisations like the Emmanuel Schools
Foundation running schools? The Foundation is bankrolled by car
hire boss Sir Peter Vardy who by sponsoring the two schools has
been able to promote his views that evolution didn't happen but
instead God created the earth! Meanwhile the Church Times has
plans to divert part of the Church Commissioners' Mission Fund
into education. "Schools are today's and tomorrow's future," said
commissioner Peter Bruinvels. "It's about front-line evangelism."

Then there's the issue of selection because if you have the same
'failing' pupils in the same school but under a different name,
you could become a failed school again. Solution? Find some better
pupils. Research by Professor Anne West of the London School of
Economics into schools which currently set their own rules of
admission shows that at least half are operating some sort of
covert selection, rules, which in the words of the chief
adjudicator of schools, are often used to help them 'drift to the
posh'.

ANAL DETENTION

Others say there appears to be a rush to brand some schools as
failing in order to get academy status. Despite a great
improvement in exam results, Northcliffe school, near Doncaster,
was unexpectedly put on special measures this year. Some locals,
who are fighting the closure, believe this is to do with a bid
from the Vardy Foundation to turn the school into an academy.
Northcliffe is in a rural area where there are no other schools
available.

In London, the Capital City Academy has been dogged by complaints
and has already run into financial difficulties with the
headteacher resigning after less than a year in charge. This state
of the art, 'school of the future' has a strong resemblance to
Stansted airport, or what some visiting pupils said reminded them
of Ikea, MI6 and a "workplace, not a school." But then turning
schools into workplaces is exactly what some businessmen obviously
want.

Alec Reed, with a fortune in the region of £50 million and owner
of Reed Executive, already runs one school in London. He has
argued that the present school curriculum should be "torn up and
thrown away" and that his investment "buys him permission to
interfere." Alec Reed wants free enterprise capitalism to be
taught in schools to children of all ages so that presumably they
can all grow up to be greedy wankers like him.

As Former Downing Street aide Fiona Millar said "If you asked most
parents what they want it would be a good local school, near to
where they live, which has a balanced intake." Instead Neo Labour
are creating a free-for-all which will ultimately offer those with
the greatest choice more choice, and those with the greatest need,
er less choice.

In fact these "new breed" of schools are similar to the new breed
of Foundation hospitals which are poised to take over 'failing'
hospitals. But as Allyson Pollock, head of health policy at
University College London says "Don't be fooled by the rhetoric:
this is about privatisation." It might be that soon the only
choice will be whether to send your kids to a school run by
Creationist nutcases or construction conglomerates.

* For more about the Private Finance Iniitiative, and how it
started in the U.K check out George Monbiot's book "Captive State"

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Crap Arrest Of Ther Week

For wearing an anti-Bush T-Shirt

A couple who wore "Love America, Hate Bush" t-shirts to the
president's 4th of July appearance were taken away in handcuffs on
trespassing charges. Nicole Rank was subsequently fired from her
job, and both her and her husband Jeff Rank have not been able to
return home as they can only contest the charges in the place of
arrest, and have been living in motels in the area ever since.

* Fuck Bush shirts are for sale to raise money for the Coke Killer
Watchers who recently went over to Columbia to confront
paramilitaries. They can be ordered for £15 from:
fuck_bush@warpmail.net

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SPEAK EASY

This week building firm Montpelier pulled out of the contract to
build a new vivisection laboratory at Oxford University. The
campaign against the building hailed this as a victory, a
spokesperson for the SPEAK campaign said "It is refreshing to see
a company take a decision based on ethical considerations rather
than profit margins."

This event has been widely reported in the media as a simple case
of "Animal Rights vs. Science". Such simplistic lazy journalism
painting animal rights activists as anti-science ignores the fact
that there are plenty of scientists who believe that experimenting
on animals is not the best way to find cures for human diseases.

The lab in Oxford is a replacement for the abandoned centre that
was to be built in Cambridge (SchNEWS 439). There was a public
enquiry for this centre and the inspector concluded that Cambridge
University couldn't prove any benefit from vivisection. Once again
all references in the media to the Cambridge lab (which SPEAK had
campaigned against) referred to how it was going to save human
lives by studying primates.

There has been a lot of misinformation spread regarding the lab in
Oxford, for example the lab was originally promoted as an animal
holding centre where no experiments would happen, which turned out
to be a lie. This error was handily repeated for weeks by the
local press and Oxford City Council seemed to have a block on the
lab as well - mysteriously the planning application detailing the
plans for the new centre disappeared off their website for three
months due to technical problems - the only planning application
that suffered problems.

And the police have been doing their best as ever to harass
protesters, arresting people for handing out leaflets, filming
everyone and getting the helicopter out to hover for hours over a
peaceful demo consisting of 15 people - and we thought the police
were short of resources? The worst behaviour of the police was
over their treatment of a disabled woman, who after taunts from
builders that she benefited from vivisection, showed them the hump
on her back and explained that it was medical drugs that had
caused her condition, the police then arrested her for showing her
deformed back in public!

Still this is not enough for the animal abusers who do not think
the police are going far enough with their harassment - The
Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry wants "a
single piece of legislation to address the issue of animal
terrorism." But the Government has been busy trying to stamp down
on animal rights activities and in March set up the National
Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit to target animal rights
activists and eco-warriors. Apparently security chiefs have also
identified Fathers for Justice as a threat to be dealt with as
well and supposedly the unit will also eventually be used to
co-ordinate investigations into other forms of extremist behaviour
such as racial attacks.

It seems to SchNEWS that the police think that targeting people
who protect animals and the environment or want access to their
kids are more of an immediate threat to the public than racist
scum. In an announcement about the new unit Lord Warner said "To
use a football epithet in reverse, we went to play the man and
forget the ball." In other words they aren't going to play fair.
Expect more foul play from the police, but don't go running to the
referee or you'll get sent off.

* There's a National Demonstration against the Oxford Lab this
Saturday (24), meet 12 noon at Carfax Tower, Junction of
Cornmarket St and High St, Oxford City. SPEAK Campaign: 0845 330
7985 www.speakcampaigns.org.uk

* Not everyone thinks animal testing saves lives and promotes
human health. Contact Seriously Ill Against Vivisection: 0845 458
1720, www.siav.org.uk

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BATTLE OF THE ALMO

It's nice to see democracy alive and kicking in Camden. The
council there recently tried to convince the borough that selling
off it's council homes was a good idea .In fact they thought it
was such a good idea they spent half a million on glossy
brochures, adverts, show flats and a DVD. Their Arms Length
Management Organisation (ALMO) idea has been rejected in favour of
common sense, but this hasn't stopped the council pursuing a local
resident through the courts for "placing posters on a bus shelter
by means of sticky brown tape". The poster, advertising an
anti-ALMO meeting last November, might cost the resident £1,460 in
fines and court costs if the council win the case. This case
should be seen as a direct attack on our means of communicating in
our communities.

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NO WEYMOUTH

A protest camp has been set up against the Weymouth relief road; a
6km long - £25m scheme that threatens to destroy one of the area's
only remaining ancient woodlands. Celebrating government approval
for the road, Dorset Council reckons that the development of a
'green park' in the Lodmoor Valley (an old landfill site) will
help offset any environmental damage caused by the scheme.

But, aware of the difficulty justifying the road-building project
on environmental grounds, Council bosses have chosen to promote
the economic value of the scheme. They say that without the road
many local businesses will leave Weymouth, putting workers on the
dole. But spending £750,000 justifying the scheme didn't stop the
council's own consultants admitting that the companies they
surveyed said that any plans to close or expand would not be
influenced by the building of the road.

One of the UK's rarest species, a Barbastelle bat, is known to
live in the woods. The animal is on the government's Biodiversity
Action Plan, which means there is already official concern about
its potential extinction. 25,000 vehicle trips are made in the
area each day, 24% more than the national average and the council
has spent naff all time looking into traffic calming alternatives.

The camp needs URGENT support NOW. Contact: 07800760257,
weymouth@roadalert.org.uk www.roadalert.org.uk

* Liberate yer Lungs and Fuck the Fringe! Reclaim the Streets is
coming to Edinburgh on 31st July. Meet midday Bristo Sq. and
Festival Sq. www.edinburgh-rts.cjb.net

* Another Reclaim the Streets party is also planned for Cardiff.
Meet at Virgin Megastore, Queen Street 2pm on Saturday 21st
August. cardiffdanceaction@yahoo.co.uk

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Positive SchNEWS

Sometimes it's really easy to miss the gems on your doorstep.
Above SchNEWS HQ is Whitehawk Hill which "Despite all the
onslaught of building development and the damage done by neglect,
Whitehawk Hill still clings on to its special treasures: Adonis
Blue butterflies, spiders older than the dinosaurs; prairie and
alpine flowers; a unique beetle known nowhere else in Britain..."
David Bangs, has just published a book 'Whitehawk Hill - where the
turf meets the surf' and will be speaking about it next Thursday
(29) 6pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton. Copies of
the book will be on sale.

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SchNEWS in brief

** Over 1 million people in Darfur, Sudan, have fled their homes
from the genocide being committed by the Sudanese government along
with militia group the Janjaweed. While the international
community drags its feet, thousands are killed, raped, kidnapped,
bombed, displaced, starved and burned. Protest next Wednesday (28)
12 noon at the Sudanese Embassy, 3 Cleveland Row (Off Pall Mall)
07960-113299 Darfurmarch@yahoo.com

** Demo next Thursday (29) outside Levi's flagship store, 174
Regent St, central London 12.30pm. Hundreds of workers making
Levi's jeans in Haiti have been sacked because they supported a
new union. 020 7525 0456 www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org

** This Sunday (25) radical Islamic cleric Al-Mahajiroun is
holding a rally in Trafalgar square. Preaching religious
intolerance, homophobia and Mysogyny, there are counter
demonstrations planned by non other than the National Front, who
you would have thought would have got on famously with
Al-Mahajiroun, seeing as they share so many of the same values.
You can also join a counter-counter demonstrations being organized
against both groups by anti-fascist group ANTIFA. Meet outside the
National Gallery at 12.30pm. www.antifa.org.uk

** 'No Sweat' have published an action comic based around the true
story of the Kuk Dong garment workers strike in Mexico in 2001.
The workers took on Nike, the local bosses, a corrupt Mexican
state and won! Check it at:
www.nosweat.org.uk/files/No_Sweat_comic.pdf

** A Georgian anarchist info-shop needs books and funds.
anarchistlobotomy@yahoo.com

** A book all about the joys and hazards of squatting in Britain
is looking for your personal stories. Any profits made from the
eventual publication will be donated to the Advisory Service for
Squatters. Send your recollections and pictures to
myk@zeitlin.freeserve.co.uk They will be posting up sample stories
and photos on the website www.geocities.com/surrealstory from
August onwards.

** Get yerself an 8-page pocket size advice and information
leaflet on Police Stop and Search. Send an SAE with 50p per copy
to: Luton Committee for Racial Harmony at 33 Leagrave Road, Luton
LU4 8HT. jim@thakoordin.fsnet.co.uk for further information.

** Interested in 'getting involved' in Neo Labour's UK ID card
tests? Then call 0161 601 8088

** And make a space in yer diary for the SchNEWS at Ten birthday
bash all night party and protest in London on Saturday 16th
October - details of events soon.

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SchNEWS is skint shocker

SchNEWS has been feeding you scally wags the real news for ten
years, and wouldn't be able to do it without the donations we get.
If you find yourself looking down the back of the sofa and find a
few quid think of your favorite weekly SchNEWS-letter. Check out
the website or call the office to find out how to donate.

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..and finally...

Remember all those times you've been left cowering by the site of
a copper with excessive facial hair? No? Neither can we.
Nevertheless, police in Madhya Pradesh, India are growing large
moustaches in a bid to join an elite force of officers picked to
tackle criminals, hoping that their well-groomed bum fluff will
intimidate criminals. The India Express quoted a senior officer as
saying: "Though guns and thick moustaches had been traditionally
associated with bandits dwarfing their victims psychologically,
this 'warfare' would be employed against criminals here."

This sounds more like Village People than Special Branch, the idea
is due to be launched in other areas and officers will be offered
a special allowance for the upkeep of their moustaches.

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers...been there, dunce that. Honest!

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INFORMATION FOR ACTION - IF YOU LIKE IT PASS IT ON...

What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and
more...

------------------------------------------------------------------

HOW TO UN/SUBSCRIBE TO SCHNEWS-L

To unsubscribe, go to the website and follow the instructions
there, or send a message to webmaster@schnews.org.uk with subject
UNSUBSCRIBE PLAIN TEXT - email@address.com

To subscribe, go to the website or email webmaster@schnews.org.uk
with subject SUBSCRIBE PLAIN TEXT - email@address.com

------------------------------------------------------------------

PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £10 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £6.50!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - a snip at £2; Survival Handbook issues
151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - sold out;
Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. All prices inc. p&p.
Cheques to 'Justice?' - Honest!

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of contacts,
comedy etc. You can also order the books from a bookshop or
library.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
issues)or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is
post-free to prisoners.

------------------------------------------------------------------

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk

------------------------------------------------------------------

@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!
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