Chris Parry, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) has announced his resignation amid controversy. Parry was ousted from the ISC, the body that advances the interests of private profit-making schools, after “war-like” comments he made about the divide between the private and state sector in education.
Parry, a leading light in the ongoing attack on education by private interests, was ousted from the ISC by other private school leaders after a meeting discussing his public statements on the state of education. In an unusual bout of honesty, Parry had made a number of viciously anti-state school comments, accusing publicly-run schooling of being an enemy of the private interests he served.
His frank admission of this war between publicly-funded and private schools appeared to be too close to the bone for other more PR-focussed private school leaders who fear that the harsh realities of the British education system might come into the public eye.
This controversy has come at a time when private interests are increasingly muscling in on state schooling. Although the IWW is not explicitly pro- or anti-state, the increasing influence of for-profit actors in education is directly causing an erosion of teaching quality for our children and an erosion of pay and conditions for education workers. With a greater emphasis on competitiveness and cost-effectiveness, state schools are struggling to compete against filthy-rich private schools who target the very richest pupils in order to perpetuate and increase the divide in our two-tier education system. A two-tier education system is also a crucial vehicle for perpetuating class divides.
Chris Parry’s comments on the war between these two tiers does not reflect the true complexity of the situation since, with academy schools increasingly popular among policy-makers, the marketisation of education continues apace, even in the state sector. The IWW is building a radical, militant union to fight these changes and build a new education sector in the shell of the old, for the benefit of workers and pupils alike. Although we welcome Parry’s departure from the ISC, we know the scum always rises to the top, and there will be many more bosses like him to fight in the future.