The Academy Sponsor, E-ACT
, which currently runs 11 academies, is intending to set up 250 state schools within five years according to the TES today
. This would make it by far the biggest educational provider in the country, dwarfing the biggest Local Authorities in the country.
The TES says: "Sir Bruce Liddington, E-ACT's director general and a former schools commissioner at the Department for Education, said he had spoken to ministers and civil servants about rapidly expanding the number of schools the charity runs. He aims to double the number of its schools in the next three years and "significantly" expand to as many as 250 in five years. Sir Bruce told The TES that he expects the group to have around 50 free schools, 50 "traditional" academies that replace underperforming schools, 100 "converter" academies and 50 primary schools."
Here we have what the LSN have been saying for a while: the "free schools" programme isn't about empowering parents at all, but about privatising the education system.
It is deeply worrying that an unaccountable "charity" like E-Act, that is answerable to no one really, will soon be running so many schools, with carte-blanche to do whatever they want. Furthermore, the way the government has set up the Free Schools programme means that it's the taxpayer that will take all the risk, picking up the tab if the chain fails to deliver, paying for the premises, and enabling the people in charge of the chain to pay themselves no doubt huge wages.
Like Tescos, the chain will probably take over "failing" schools and expand wherever it can, stifling competition whenever it can as well. The net result will probably be "less choice" for parents; certainly they will have far less say in how the chain is run than they currently do with LA schools.