Campaigns: For Transparency in Academies and Free Schools

Posts about For Transparency in Academies and Free Schools

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David Barry: Cuckoo Hall: VINDICATED! (or not, perhaps) Three letters and a clarification.

On the 14 February my first posting on Cuckoo Hall appeared (I actually wrote it on the 13th, in this saga exact dating seems to matter) I wrote it based on press reports, and before the EFA report was published. Then on the 16 February Janet Downs was able to post about the newly published EFA report. In what follows I shall ... read more and comment →

17 comments

Latest comment by David Barry: "Just to reinforce your point Janet about "embarressment" here are some relevant quoyes from prof Joh Howson's blog. "Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust was one of Gove’s flagship convertor schools and an early sponsor of ‘free schools’ in parts of Enfield, the ......"

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Janet Downs: Academy conversion is not a magic bullet, says Select Committee report which reveals flaws in flagship policy.

The Education Select Committee’s report on Academies and Free schools confirms something which has been repeated on this site for years: ‘Most academy freedoms are in fact available to all schools’. One freedom which is given to academies, however, is the freedom to opt-out of the centrally-mandated National Curriculum. The Committee has an answer: freedom to opt-out should be given ... read more and comment →

6 comments

Latest comment by Janet Downs: "‘In the meantime the Government should stop exaggerating the success of academies and be cautious about firm conclusions except where the evidence merits it. Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling ......"

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Janet Downs: Complex structures could increase perception of wrongdoing, warns Chief Auditor in Durand Academy report

Complex structures adopted by academy trusts led to arrangements which are ‘not always transparent’ and could ‘increase the perception of any wrongdoing’, warned the National Audit Office. The Chief Auditor investigated the Education Funding Agency’s oversight of related party transactions at Durand Academy Trust and found the way the Trust was set up resulted in a complex web linking the Trust ... read more and comment →

6 comments

Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Barry - or it could mean that the DfE is unduly influenced by political lobbying (see my comment and R Smith's comment above) and willing to commit public money to a scheme which was criticised by the NAO. The NAO has ......"

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Janet Downs: Rules governing conflicts of interest in academy trusts are too lax, says report to Select Committee

‘Conflicts of interest are common in academy trusts’ Report to Education Select Committee by Institute of Education (IoE), University of London That’s not really surprising, the IoE said, given that academies were designed to be ‘independent organisations spending public money’. However, there have been a small number of cases where these conflicts have been mismanaged. Conflicts of interest can occur when: 1 Academy trustees ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Jenny - the story was covered in much of the media but I expect it will be forgotten now the results of Scotland's independence referendum are known. Over a year ago I asked how many academy trusts were a 'vehicle' for ......"

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David Barry: So its FINAL then: The latest in the continuing series regarding Whitehall Park School

INTRODUCTION This follows on from the recent posting (see sidebar) about an application for planning permission to Islington Council, to provide temporary accomodation for one academic year (2014 -2015) for Whitehall Park School on part of the old Ashmount School site in Islington, here: A fortnight before the announced, legal, deadline for comments or objections to the application for planning ... read more and comment →

15 comments

Latest comment by David Barry: "And also blogged here about the planning application delay for Whitehall park School http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/01/whitehall-park-school-a-lack-of-candour-a-delay-and-a-general-election/..."

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David Barry: How many? From where? How successful has Whitehall Park School been in recruiting children?

This is a sequel - part two if you will - to a posting I made on the 8 March 2014 here: In that posting I used the actual number of applications to Whitehall Park School (obtained by Freedom of Information request from the DfE, the school themselves would not say) to establish that the strident claims by Bellevue Place that ... read more and comment →

16 comments

Latest comment by David Barry: "Celestine, As you are surprised by "the negativity" you are obviously new to the debate. If you look at this post http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/10/islington-free-school-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/ You will find the case against set out with admirable clarity. Mind you I do not feel negative at all. I ......"

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David Ward: What they don’t want you to know about Cavell School

The imposed Interim Executive Board's consultation on the future of Cavell School in Norwich has just finished. Well, I say "consultation" - it was that in name only. It consisted of two pages of propaganda about academies and the proposed sponsor, followed by an invitation to comment. Feeling that this is hardly an adequate means of determining our views, I ... read more and comment →

14 comments

Latest comment by David Ward: "A quick update on this - the school's proposed sponsor took over another school a few months ago, their first, and the results have not been positive: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/education/parents_remain_concerned_over_new_stalham_junior_academy_1_3647947 So much about this gives cause for concern, but the IEB responded surprisingly ......"

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Janet Downs: Multiple funding for school capital projects should be replaced with one source, and LAs should be able to set up community schools, says LGA

Prepare to be confused. If schools need maintenance or rebuilding, or if new places are required, there are several funding pots. These have different labels such as: 1 Basic Needs Allocation for new pupils places (the Government was accused of siphoning money from this pot to free schools); 2 Targeted Basic Needs Funding: additional funding for extra school places. 3 Priority School Building Programme: ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Gove’s revolution + LibDem/Tory Coalition changes to finance prevent rational school place planning in Leeds NW | Leeds North West Constituency Labour Party: "[…] – the complexity.[courtesy of Local Schools Network] ‘ If schools need maintenance or rebuilding, or if new places are required, there are now […]..."

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David Ward: Cavell in the courts – a final chance to save our school

`The rule of law is fundamental to the operation of any democracy, but getting access to the appropriate legal remedies is a complex and expensive process. In fact, in our case it seems that the authorities are relying on that fact, because almost every step in what can only be described as the hostile occupation of Cavell Primary and Nursery ... read more and comment →

23 comments

Latest comment by David Ward: "Yes, it beggars belief that a Schools Adjudicator could think the sham of a consultation we've been offered is in any way adequate. It neglects every important aspect of consultation on any topic. I did know about his job at Eaton, ......"

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Janet Downs: If we don’t become an academy, central government and funding agencies will ignore us…

“As a local authority school we simply would not be listened to by central government or other funding agencies…” This is one of the reasons cited by Hove Park School, Brighton, for becoming an academy. The school also says: “The Local Authority system is under-funded and unable to provide the support to schools that it has in the past.” These two sentences appear to ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Thanks, Graham. I'd missed the bit about weighting for maintenance under the heading Overall Principle. However, about 40% of secondary schools are still not academies (although a proportion with be VA so for the sake of argument say 30% are ......"

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