There has been the usual crop of PR pieces for A4e in the local press, but an item on their own website, on the success of a student at Vox, their private Pupil Referral Unit in Stockton, may indicate more than a passing interest in the government's education policy. Many of the "free schools" announced today will be managed by private companies on behalf of groups of parents, teachers or charities, and we know that Serco is one of several companies involved. At the moment these schools are meant to be "not for profit", but for companies like A4e and Serco which are already heavily involved in education it makes financial sense to take this next step. We must continue to wait and see.
Friday, 18 June 2010
Round-up, 18 June 2010
There is still no news of the Channel 4 programme, "The Wager", featuring the A4e boss whom the Guardian called "the ubiquitous Emma Harrison". But it's Rob Murdoch, the company's Executive Director, who has been in the news this week - or, at least, in the Telegraph. On Thursday the paper called on him, and on Alex Pollock of Avanta, for a comment on the fact that "Long-term jobless soars to 13-year high despite £2.8bn public spending". Later in the same day the headline had changed to "New jobseekers 'squeeze out' long-term unemployed in rush for jobs" but it was still Pollock and Murdoch who supplied the point of view of the contractors. They have something of a balancing act to perform at the moment. They can't very well disagree with government policy, past or present, and so have to insist that the contracts to assist the long-term unemployed have "worked". At the same time they need to talk upthe difficulties of finding jobs for this group, as new contracts are drawn up.