Ok, I’m not going to hang around with this one. I need to fax it to all my contacts before the cars screech up outside my door and some big shouldered bloke in sunglasses takes me out with the toaster lead. So, quick let’s just take a look at this article on today’s BBC Website. It went up 3 hours ago:
Pupils in England ‘lag behind international peers’
The article presents evidence from “Centre Forum”. Ever heard of them? Me neither, but hey it’s on the BBC and needs to be taken seriously. Even though my trust in media is running pretty low, I still expect a think-tank to be described as “right-wing” or “left-wing” or some other description that might identify any possible bias or vested interest. You know, like “Cadburys Find Chocolate Extends Life Expectancy”. But the BBC hasn’t done that, so these guys must be straight down the line, independent, only the best interests of our children at heart, with no major vested interests that might make them want to take a pop at state education in this country.
Erm no. This is where I had a quick google, and ended up in one of those conspiracy movie moments where Jason Bourne realises the head of CIA is actually the one who’s after him and he better switch mobile phones and jump out the window to a thumping techno soundtrack. But the thing is, I didn’t actually go to some ranty conspiracy website. I went to the Centre Forum website itself, and here’s what I found. You can listen to the track at the end of the Bourne Ultimatum to put you in the mood if you like.
And you can browse the website for yourself and get more interactive – here’s the link
But if you’re in a rush there’s five people on the board. The chair is Paul Marshall:
And next along we have Sir Theodore Agnew, surely he’s not going to be anything to do with academies……
Sir Theodore previously served as a non-executive board member at the Department for Education, where he was chair of the department’s Academies Board from 2013 to 2015.
Sir Theodore was appointed a deputy lieutenant (DL) of Norfolk in 2013 and was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to education. He was appointed lead non-executive board member at the Ministry of Justice in July 2015.
He is chairman and sponsor of ‘Inspiration’ a multi-academy trust based in Norfolk with 11 schools.
Erm, ok. So here’s a Baroness, let’s see what her connections are. Baroness Sally Morgan
She is currently Chair of Future Leaders (a UK charity training potential head teachers for challenging schools), adviser to the children’s charity, Ark, which works in education in the UK and internationally, on the board for Frontline, a fast-track social work programme, a member of Council for Kings College London and a non-executive director of Carphone Warehouse PLC, and a member of the Advisory Board of Virgin Holdings.
Ah, that’s ok then, look she works with a Children’s Charity called “Ark.” But wait a minute, Ark?
Is that the same Ark with Paul Marshall , “chairman of ARK Schools, which is one of Britain’s leading providers of academies.” ?
So we’ve got a board of five people, three of which are clearly driving forward academies, two of which work for the same academy chain, presenting an authoritative report undermining state education, at a time when the academies are working hard to undermine state education and completely take over? And the BBC don’t think that merits a mention as part of their coverage. Ok.
Thankfully, the questioning of the very radical academisation process is finally kicking off now as more people realise the agenda is for complete take-over. After the NUT, the NASWUT, Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, the Libdems and even many Conservatives have challenged the idea of forcing this idea that wasn’t even in the manifesto on the whole population, we now have the usually moderate ATL union heckling Nick Gibbs today as he tries to sell it. So there is still something to fight for and it’s not over yet. This article in the London Review of Books suggests I’m not being paranoid enough and this is really just the tip of the iceberg…. and it would help if the BBC at the very least acknowledged the agenda of its sources. Do we need to do our own reporting and investigating ?
Another thing to take it into account is that this a pretty blatant example where it’s easy to follow the leads and find the sources, – how many times have reports been released where the fingerprints aren’t so easy to identify? But anyway at least you know the next time you are presented with a report from Centre Forum as part of the evidence – you know what to do: – stick on the music, switch your mobile phone sim card and jump out the window ….