About the campaign

The government wants schools, colleges and universities to be run for-profit. Ministers are currently in talks with large multi-national companies and private equity firms – including those who have a very bad track record for delivering education in other countries.

Education – not for sale is bringing together unions, educators, learners and communities to campaign against the privatisation of our education system. We think pupils and students should be put first not shareholders.

Our state education system is one of the UK’s great success stories with test and exam performance improving every year. Help us to protect it.

The case for state education

State education is one of the UK’s success stories. For every excellent academy mentioned by ministers, there is an equally excellent state school which has stayed in the local ‘family’. Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest boroughs in the country, has schools working together, achieving results significantly above the national average. The borough has just two academies. The UK continues to punch above its weight in further and higher education, with universities and colleges generating billions for the economy every year despite being asked to do more with less funding. Our public education system is not broken. With sensible government oversight, enabling professionals to get on with their jobs, it can continue to thrive. Instead, the government is dismantling the state education system as we know it. Public money which should be used to educate our children is being diverted into the hands of shareholders and highly paid chief executives.

How can our education system be protected?

Systems for managing schools, including academies and free schools, should follow the Nolan principles: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The TUC calls for the following:

 Small placard There should be a commitment by all political parties that no school should be allowed to be run for profit directly or indirectly and this should be enshrined in legislation to prevent politicians easily deviating from this policy commitment in the future.
 Small placard All publicly funded educational institutions must be fully accountable to all key stakeholders, especially parents and local communities, which is best done by being part of a local democratic accountability framework that includes a key strategic role for local authorities.
 Small placard All state-funded schools should adhere to national ‘education entitlements’, including the right of all pupils to be taught by fully qualified teachers and for all schools to be governed by the same requirements and flexibilities with regard to the National Curriculum.
 Small placard The funding and governance of all state-funded schools should be fully transparent to enable local communities to determine how state funding is being used, and potentially misused, in all local schools. This should include requiring all schools to establish a ‘register of interests’ to prevent indirect profit-making by private companies.
 Small placard In further and higher education, the government should introduce a new requirement that public support must only go to educational and training organisations that are not-for-profit, and should put in place a tougher regulatory framework for those organisations owned by for-profit companies.