I understand the Independent is to stop publishing its Thursday education pages.  Their last appearance will be on July 1.

Education - real education, that is, not training in the skills required for work - is in greater danger than it's been in my lifetime.  Education journalists, who a decade ago would have been sounding the alarm, don't have access to their platforms any more. 

At the the Independent, until now, two long-serving and much respected education writers, Lucy Hodges and Richard Garner, were allowed to continue to practise their trade, until now.

National papers seem to think the job of their diminished corps of education writers is to write consumer puffs to hold apart advertisements for business schools and for fee-charging schools and colleges.

The Tuesday Education Guardian, once the place for education debate, has become a diminished scrap of advertorial. No Guardian journalist who knows about education gets to write in it, and the current choice of editor for the education pages (a stand-in for the permanent editor, who is on maternity leave) is a studied insult to people who think the subject matters. 

The TES and Times Higher Education are much diminished. The freelance market is littered with good journalists who know education and care about it, and once wrote for these two publications.  Now they make their living doing public relations for official education bodies, and their independent voice is silenced.

Scrutiny of education policy has more or less disappeared just when it's needed most. Without it, politicians can get away with whatever lies they choose to tell. 

Michael Gove is extending the New Labour policy of privatising privatise schools, and handing the power to control what schools do to the usual ragbag of education consultants, academics who know a bit of management jargon, and religious organisations whose interest in education is to ensure that children are inculcated with the beliefs of their sect.

Because no one who understand education is scrutinising what he is doing in the press, he gets away with telling people that this is giving parents control over schools.  He's not; he's taking control away from parents.

Meanwhile David Cameron chose to continues the bad precedent set by Gordon Brown, of making higher, further and adult education a subsidiary of the Business, Industry and Skills Department.  We have had three speeches from the minister responsible for education in that department, David Willetts, and so far nothing but training in skills has been mentioned. Quietly, education - the spreading of ideas, culture, literature - is disappearing before our eyes, because it is not particularly profitable.

Universities are being forced to scrabble for pennies, which means their academic freedom is entirely lost (not that academics seem to have put up much of a fight for it) and they are busy demanding to be allowed to squeeze more money out of their students.

And no one notices, because those who used to notice no longer have a platform.