The government has stolen a march on the teacher unions with swift action to step up privatisation by promoting 'Free Schools' and academies. In the Morning Star, Martin Johnson deputy general secretary of ATL takes the education secretary to task.

Some have seen the development as a strongly centralising measure. Oversight - not control, since all schools have managed themselves since 1993 - of schools would be transferred from local authorities and the churches to the Department for Education (DfE) by means of a funding agreement directly between the school and the government.

The previous government burnt its fingers here by believing its own propaganda that academies are by definition excellent schools requiring no support - until youngsters at academies in Carlisle and Southampton went on the rampage.

As then schools secretary Ed Balls told the select committee in March, "nobody else really thought it was their responsibility to understand what was actually happening. Carlisle is quite a long way from London."

The truth is, any school, whether rated "outstanding" by Ofsted or not, can get itself into a bit of a pickle and need some help. But Balls continued: "We cannot micro-manage school improvement, or school turnaround, from the centre."

Other people see academies as independent schools free from interference from petty bureaucracies - aka local authorities. That will be the same "petty bureaucracy" which picks up the tab when a school makes someone redundant, or when staff are absent long-term or on maternity leave, or when the flat roof leaks or the building subsides, or when a pupil needs school transport or support for their behaviour. The list goes on.

The problem with state-funded independent schools is a constitutional one. The taxpaying piper does not call the academy tune. Academies are accountable to no-one except the secretary of state, who has no statutory duty to report on them. Up until now, they have been accountable to Ofsted, but in a bizarre juxtaposition of policies even that accountability is being removed in the case of "outstanding" schools.

The truth about academies is actually far, far worse than either centralisation or independence. We are learning fast that this government means what the Conservatives have said.

Education Secretary Michael Gove says he has no problem with private-sector entry into state education. He also says that he aspires for all schools to become academies.

Gove is clearly not stupid. He knows that he cannot run thousands of schools from London. He is also unwilling to trust local authorities to run the school system, despite their classic role as fall guys for central government. However he does know some people he can trust - the nice people from private companies like Edison, Gems, and Kunskapsskolan, or from charitable trusts like Harris, E-act, and Oasis.

How long will it be before aspiring applicants for academy status are advised - quietly, of course - that they really need the safety net of one of these organisations, which are already contacting schools designated outstanding.

And, ever so gently, Gove tries to achieve what previous privatising governments never dreamed of. England's schools, a bastion of their local communities, a haven of ethical values, a profit-motive-free zone, go private in a trice.

He will say that the competing chains will force up quality while the DfE monitors quietly, recklessly ignoring the complete lack of evidence that markets ever do that. Private companies will also rake off a "surplus" that should be spent on our pupils.

That is why we must stand together against an academy programme that we did not vote for.