It is good to see the timeframe of 125 year lease put in perspective. Yes – it is a very long time. The notion that publicly owned land and buildings are just on temporary loan to private academy trusts and sponsors has always beggared belief, but confirmation this week via a Birmingham City Council cabinet meeting that if an academy folds the assets are not returned to the city council, makes it clear once and for all that these substantial assets are in fact being given away.
The term ‘125 Year Lease’ is thrown around like confetti at a wedding so allow me put 125 years into context.
125 years ago, in 1887, when Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee, County Councils had yet to be established (Local Government Act 1888) and Local Education Authorities would not be created for another 14 years. (Education Act 1902)
125 years ago there were no LEAs and most of us couldn’t vote – no woman could anyway.
There were no cars as we would know them, few bicycles, no planes, gas and electricity were novelties few enjoyed.
No radio or television, telephones had existed for around a decade – few had them, and you had to pay to see the Doctor…
I could go on but the point I’m trying to make is that 125 years is a long, long, long time.
A lot will change over such a period.
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