responding to Mr Gove’s announcement about school funding said: “His consultation talks ominously about “chains of academies”. Can he tell us today how big he expects these chains to become, and whether he will place any limits on their expansion?”
This was Mr Gove’s answer
: “He asked about the sustainable level of growth of chains. I believe that chains such as the Harris group, Ark or the United Learning Trust are doing an amazing job on the ground, working with local authorities and turning round schools in the worst condition. As far as I am concerned, they should grow at the fastest sustainable rate.”
Mr Gove has made it clear: he’s in favour of academy chains growing quickly. These chains are centralised and unaccountable. And the United Learning Trust (ULT) was criticised by John Burn OBE, a former principal of an academy, who warned about academy chains in his evidence
to the Educational Bill Committee. It appeared, he said, that ULT was “not properly accountable to its own schools, their leaders and their communities.”
This is what Mr Gove means by giving power to local people – removing schools from the control of democratically-accountable local authorities and encouraging them to join unaccountable academy chains.