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Government Spending Criticized at Annual Teacher’s Conference

Thursday 28th April 2011

At the annual NUT Conference in Harrogate teachers’ leaders have accused the Government of spending millions of pounds on private education consultants when most schools are facing budget cuts and job losses.

Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has written to Education Secretary Michael Gove demanding to know why he has paid £21m in total in the past year to private consultants.

Ms Blower added that teachers were "understandably alarmed" that almost 100 civil servants had been seconded to work full-time on the Government’s flagship "free schools" project when support to existing state schools was being reduced.

NUT researchers analyzed the Department for Education spending and found five firms with links to free school projects have received £21m worth of government funding in the past year.

In addition, three other firms had received a further £5m – including £4.5m paid out by Partnership for Schools, a quango given responsibility for overseeing the building of free schools, to a private legal firm, Dickenson Dees.

Ms Blower said "Why at a time when school budgets are being squeezed has the DfE made £21m payments to private consultants? Having sold the policy of free schools to the general public as one of small groups of enthusiastic members of the community running schools, the Government has changed it to one of handing schools over to unaccountable private companies."

 

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