A new model of schooling is emerging in the UK which links schools to local businesses.

The so-called Da Vinci studio schools are – like so many aspects of neo-liberal education ‘reform’, an import from the US. In England they are a public private partnership for children aged 14 to 18 and aim to get children ready for work by having them work one or two days a week in a local business – presumably for nothing. The employer is asked what kind of a curriculum they would like to see  and also has a chance as one of the interviewees puts it to ‘have a look at the students’, think about whether they would like to employ them and get some free training done into the bargain -a win-win situation for the local employer.

The rather depressing video above, produced by the English Department for Education (who could have used some work experience themselves in film making), starts by getting two pupils to denigrate their previous – presumably state schools and teachers.

This model of education is very similar to one practised in Mexico as a result of the NAFTA free trade agreement, where so-called CONALEP schools serve the needs of the local maquiladores or factories, mostly US owned, and the students move from the schools to the factories seamlessly, having been trained to do just that.  It is a far cry from the kind of democratic and critical education for which this website and many teachers are advocating but if fits very well with the neo-liberal priority of seeing human beings as ‘resources’ to produce surplus value for capital.