School put up for internet auction

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
Parents are auctioning a school on eBay in an attempt to find it a new sponsor before it becomes an academy.

Northcliffe school in Conisbrough, Doncaster, is being offered to buyers who are willing to pay pound;2 million by cheque or credit card.

Local parents put the comprehensive on the auction website in protest at plans to turn it into an academy with sponsorship from the Vardy Foundation. The charity, which also sponsors the King's Academy in Middlesbrough, has been criticised for promoting Christian evangelism.

Northcliffe school is listed on eBay as an item for "local pick-up only (no postage)". The highest bid it has received so far is 10p.

The website states: "For a 10 per cent contribution you too could take over a comprehensive school and turn it into an academy!" You can teach whatever you please and the Government won't bat an eyelid!"

Members of the Conisbrough and Denaby Parents Action Group said they had arranged the auction to satirise the ease with which companies and religious organisations were taking over academies. However, Tracy Morton, a group spokeswoman, said parents would be delighted if the offer attracted a genuine bidder.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said the auction might appear jokey but that its message was "profoundly disturbing".

A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: "To suggest that schools can be auctioned off to the highest bidder is complete nonsense - as is the claim that sponsors are unaccountable."

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