Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Ah, those fine Blairite institutions. South Maidstone is apparently to be blessed with a school where some rich person gets 51 per cent of the votes for 20 per cent of the money, but something has gone terribly wrong. Specifically, the Tory-run Kent county council is trying to do something unfashionable.

According to our sources, Kent is selling something called "Senacre". It is meant to get £18 million from this. Out of this, the council is meant to pay the traditional 80 per cent share that the public put into the new academy. Kent is concerned, though, that they may not get more than £16 million - but surely, property values only ever go up? Heavens forfend! - but there's worse.

Kent, we hear, intends to use £2m of the "capital receipt" from "Senacre" to provide facilities for children with special needs and a workshop for vocational trainees. But central government considers this to be "backtracking". According to DFES, "SEN (special educational needs - tyr) and Vocational is not a priority in the Academies context." Academies will have better exam results, because chavs and mongs will be eliminated. It's nice to see it put so clearly.

It gets worse. One might recall that the whole point of this policy was that the god-like private sector would bring expertise and cash in. But in this case, the Sponsor doesn't seem to be quite the man he said he was. A certain DFES minister is trying to set up "an acceptable mix of sponsorship" with £1 million - so half the figure these folk are meant to find according to the law of the land - and another mill, to come out of Kent's capital receipts. To put it another way - south-eastern suburban churchgoers' status needs will be subsidised by force from the disabled and the working class.

Kentish readers, or readers of Kent, are requested to identify what Senacre is. (Update: it's a well-respected special school.)

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