Campaigns: For Transparency in Academies and Free Schools

Posts about For Transparency in Academies and Free Schools

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Janet Downs: Ofsted releases another delayed academy letter. How many more sent before the election are still in the pipeline?

Ofsted has today published a letter of concern to the Collaborative Academies Trust (CAT). Inspectors criticised slow improvement, variable achievement and weaknesses in some features in CAT’s academies, including early years provision. CAT is the charitable arm of EdisonLearning, a for-profit education provider. According to an Independent article (September 2013), EdisonLearning isn’t interested in making money out of ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by agov: "Then presumably there must be a lot of exceptional circumstances. Ofsted say - We don’t normally withhold publication of an inspection report or withdraw a published inspection report while we investigate complaints about an inspection, unless there are exceptional ......"

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David Barry: Cuckoo Hall: “Mismanagement by crony governance”

BACKGROUND This is the latest post about Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust. The previous post is here. Criticism of Cuckoo Hall and the very particular management style of Patricia Sowter CBE which has included her telling falsehoods about her achievements, has been mounting for some time. See, for example Janet Downs' post here. THE EDUCATION FUNDING AGENCY INVESTIGATES ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by David Barry: "The next post in the series about Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust has just gone up here: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/05/cuckoo-hall-suspended-reinstated-resigned-an-enquiry-into-phil-sowter/..."

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David Barry: Cuckoo Hall: And there were voices

Background This is the fourth time I have posted about Cuckoo Hall. (note 1) That this is so draws attention to a special feature of this story. It is going on so long. Much TOO long. It appears, in fact, to be testing to the limit the system of accountability for Academies and Free Schools based, as it ... read more and comment →

50 comments

Latest comment by Anon: "This year's NQTs were actually asked to lie to IStip about the NQT time they get! When Cuckoo Hall found out that they were having an IStip inspection, an emergency meeting was called in which NQTs were asked to lie ......"

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David Barry: Cuckoo Hall: And there was silence for a space.

Followers of the Cuckoo Hall saga will be aware of its bare outline. Before Christmas The Chair of a Multi Academy Chain, Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust Andry Efthymiou, received serious allegations against the Executive head of the TRUST, Patricia Sowter CBE, Ms Sowter's Husband, a Trustee of CHAT, and against the Head of Cuckoo Hall, Sharon Ahmet. The Chair, by their own ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Cuckoo in the nest: "A request has been made but they have failed to comply within 20 days stating that they need further time to consider whether it's in the public interest. (I'm paraphrasing). Your colleague here has been sent a copy of ......"

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 David Barry: "An "addedum to the addendum" Another example of a Trust with conflicts of interest, not picked up by the IOE study but established by an EFA formal investigation, no less is to be found here: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/02/efa-takes-action-at-high-profile-cuckoo-hall-academies-trust-but-questions-still-remain/ This posting is also by Janet Downs...."

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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 →

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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 →

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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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