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Academies' birth notice is too early

YOU are, I hope, a little premature in announcing the arrival of city academies in some of our urban areas (TES, October 13). I would expect the proposals to be consulted on in every area and, in theory it should allow for proposals to be rejected.

There must be some Labour MPs and local councillors who have a memory of and a commitment to long-standing Labour policy which is for publicly-owned and non-selective education.

City academies would be independent schools owned and run by private companies although they would receive most of their set-up costs and all their running costs from the Government.

Councils would have to give away the schools and all their assets which have been built up by ratepayes over many years.

The schools would be able to select a proportion of their pupils "by aptitude" but not publish their selection or exclusion criteria while staff would be outside the national pay and conditions regulations.

This represents the biggest betrayal of the public education service of all time - by a Labour Government and, in Brent at least, a Labour council.

Is it really a fait accompli or are there some politicians left somewhere with principles? Certainly the National Union of Teachers will be opposing these proposals root and branch.

Malcolm Horne

National Union of Teachers

Past national president

43 Orchard Grove

Chalfont St Peter

Buckinghamshire

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