Approval given for profits from ‘Free’ School

The Breckland Free School in Brandon, Suffolk, has awarded a £21 million contract to Swedish for-profit education company IES UK.

The decision to appoint a for profit provider to set up a ‘free’ school in Brandon, Suffolk, is a clear signpost of the direction of travel of Michael Gove’s ‘supply side revolution’. Privatisation and deregulation, not system wide school improvement, appear to be the destination.

Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) is a successful profit making company. Their turnover is 680 million SEK, roughly £60 million.

The Adam Smith Institute, which believes that schools should be run for profits, produced a report called ‘Profit Making Free Schools – unlocking the potential of England’s Proprietorial schools sector’ in which they look at the profits made by IES and the other major Swedish education company Kunskappskolan.

It reports that IES had a profit margin of 8.8% in 2009/10. This means that they made a profit of over £5 million.

How much profit do IES expect to make on their £21 million contract?

Taken alongside the relaxation of the rules on selection and admissions it suggests the Coalition education policy is being driven by the Tory right wing.

Michael Gove recently commented that there was no need to have profit-making “at the moment”.

The government are afraid to admit that they want to run our schools for profit because they recognise that there is widespread opposition to privatisation of our education system. They are using ‘Free’ schools as a battering ram to open our schools to profit.

There is an urgent need for a public inquiry into both the ‘free’ school and academies programme.

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