Academy sponsors are spearheading an organisation to undermine teaching unions.
Edapt's stated aim is to give support and advice to teachers but it is clearly set up as an alternative to their unions.
“Edapt is cheaper than teaching trade unions,” it claims and 'you don't need to join a trade union to get support and protection'.
Tory education secretary Michael Gove described this “apolitical” organisation as “marvellous”.
Edapt’s website has a poll showing huge support for Gove’s performance-related pay plan. It carries long articles on how the plan isn’t an attack on teachers.
Emma Whitehead, a director at Edapt, has denounced the effect of “politically-motivated dialogue and even disputes” on teachers and students.
Edapt is funded by anonymous “private investors”. It didn’t respond to Socialist Worker requests for its membership figures.
It is also not clear who can use its services. Edapt’s website can only confirm that, “We have agreements with a growing number of schools to allow us to accompany a teacher at a hearing”.
Edapt is chaired by Sir Iain Hall, knighted in 2002 for “services to education”.
He heads up a free school in Warrington—Kings School Woolston. Warrington council accused the government of “bullying” it into accepting the school.
Hall has previously attracted more serious controversy.
In 2003 an inquest heard the case of the teacher Jonathan Thompson, who hanged himself after complaining of bullying by Hall—which Hall denied.
Jonathan had complained of the “oppressive management style” at Parrs Wood High School, where Hall was the head.
Unions have been at the forefront of defending workers against bullying.
Edapt shows that those driving privatisation in schools want to weaken union organisation.
But it is also a response to the unions’ power.