The scandal of Peter Cruddas offering access to the Prime Minister in return for eye-watering sums of money has some very disturbing implications for the schools policy being implemented by the Coalition. As we are seeing, private firms, charities and other organisations are taking over the running of many of English schools or setting up their own “free schools”. This latest lobbying scandal shows that it’s those with the deepest pockets who have the ear of government. Does this mean that wealthy organisations, charities, religious groups and individuals are able to buy access to the top tier of government and, as a result, set up their own schools at the taxpayers’ expense?
It makes me wonder just what has been going on behind closed doors with regards to free schools and academies. I still find it very puzzling that certain edu-chains have been given the go-ahead to set up free schools or run academies when they quite clearly don’t seem fit to run schools. But one suspects that questionable outfits like Steiner schools, E-Act schools and Edison are just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we are going to see well-funded fundamentalist organisations and nutty organisations like the Scientologists knocking at the governments’ door to set up schools. Indeed in February, the British Humanist Association pointed out that there are as many as a hundred religious or pseudo-scientific groups planning to set up free schools. Some of these organisations have a great deal of money. I wonder if any of it has found its way into the coffers of the Tory Party?