The Blairite Adonis plan for a huge expansion of City Academies, revealed in yesterday's Sunday Times, took many in government and the Labour Party by surprise. Adonis and his pet project have been lying low recently.
Schools minister Lord Adonis, the architect of the programme, had the arrogance to say:
“My motto as an ardent Blairite is, in the master’s words, what matters is what works ... We will make a political decision in due course on where we go beyond 400. On the basis of the results and the demand, the only issue is how far. We have 100 opening in 2010. ”
Many have seen through the academy programme as nothing more than a clever way of building schools under the discredited PFI scheme, to keep the building off the public balance sheet.
Then handing them over to an army of non-elected education consultants and bureaucrats in privately managed academies, out of the control of the local education authorities. Pupils and targets are manipulated to suit their own ends.
As observed here, expanding the academies programme further will result in more schools branded as 'failures'.
The government has already earmarked 638 schools in England as 'failures' under the National Challenge programme. They face funding cuts and a switch to the academy programme, unless they meet unrealistic government GCSE targets.
Adonis is well-suited to the task. As Andrew Adonis, Blair gave him a peerage in 2005. A neat way of getting Blairite sympathisers into the heart of govenment. His elevation to the House of Lords, paved the way for his appointment as a government minister.
So here we have a non-elected, non-democratic minister, not an MP, coming up with a plan to increase the number of undemocratic, unaccountable schools. That's probably why he's comfortable using the royal 'we'.
The teaching unions and true Labour Party members are incensed at the idea of more Blairite academies spin and see it as a further example of the Blairite stranglehold on the New Labour government.
In a delicious twist of irony, it was the city academies which first blew the whistle in the 'Cash for Honours' political scandal - when academy business backers were given peerages in return for New Labour Party loans - first exposed by the Sunday Times.