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Is union's research academic?

Does the NASUWT have a cunning plan to undermine New Labour's flagship academies programme?

A recent ad in Prospect magazine for "a researcher to help conduct a major piece of research into the Government's academy schools initiative" suggests that the union may be getting sceptical.

The post, offered by the left-of centre think tank Catalyst and sponsored by the NASUWT, requires 70 days' work at pound;100-pound;200 a day, which means the union is prepared to cough up pound;7,000 to pound;14,000.

Why? The union's press officer comes over all Trappist on the subject and refuses to give Diary any details at all.

So let's have a look at Catalyst, which devised the project. Variously described as "Real Labour" and "intelligent Old Labour," the think tank has been pouring scorn on the Government's attempt to consumerise public services, attacking foundation hospitals, top-up fees, rail privatisation and PFI. And its council is chaired by Roy Hattersley, no friend of New Labour.

All in all, then, the research is unlikely to produce a love letter to academies. Which could be awkward for the NASUWT's cosy relationship with the Government.

No lack of applicants though. There have been hundreds, says Catalyst.

First report due at Christmas, final report in March.

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