Action zones and a secret agenda

20th April 2001 at 01:00
EDUCATION action zones in London can "attract sponsorship from big firms", Gillian Pennington of Social Market Research was quoted as saying ("Cold water poured on hotbeds of innovation", TES, April 6). Not true!

The action zone in Westminster, set up in April 2000, was promised pound;100,000 in cash from private partners which, with pound;150,000 in kind, would have been matched by the Government's pound;250,000.

In February of this year it was reported that the private firms had come up with just pound;4,000 in cash. Whether this is to do with the fact that oneof the sponsors was Railtrack, which currently has other priorities, is anyone's guess.

Action zones are dead but have served their purpose. They were the Trojan horses that delivered privatisation. The real pay-off for the private sector will be the Private Finance Initiative, outsourcing, city academies and the the selling-off of schools. We need a national campaign against education privatisation stating clearly: "Not for Sale!" Bernard Regan Secretary, Westminster branch National Union of Teachers 53 Peartree Road Enfield, Middlesex

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