‘Most of TKAT’s academies have come through brokerage ie the governing body of the school has been “guided” by the DfE/LA to choose TKAT.’
to Education Select Committee by The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), November 2013.
Would these be the tactics which John Pugh, MP, described as being from the “Vito Corleone textbook
Yesterday, Warwick Mansell wrote in the Guardian
that TKAT removed two-thirds of heads when it took over schools. Earlier the Guardian
had reported about the surprise departure from TKAT’s Weyfield primary academy of Simon Wood, the head described by Ofsted in January 2013 as inspirational, who left suddenly at Christmas. It appears Wood wanted to join another chain and TKAT said he needn’t work his notice which expired at Easter. But parents still aren’t happy
: they know where their popular head has gone (at least “he isn’t being tortured in some Goviet gulag with all TKAT’s other missing heads”) but not why the sudden departure.
This brings us back to the first question about questionable tactics. A former Weyfield governor of 20 years, Keith Chesterton, in a letter
to the local press, claimed Weyfield had been “told” by the Department for Education (DfE) to become an academy in early 2012. Governors, Chesterton writes, wanted to join George Abbot School’s multi academy trust instead of TKAT as it was the “local option”. TKAT was “instantly angry”, the DfE was “furious” and “bullied and threatened” the Governors. Despite the involvement of local MP, Ann Milton, Chesterton says “Gove and his fellow Ministers” wouldn’t be swayed.
TKAT has grown rapidly in the last two years. It now has 40 academies, up from 10 (8 secondaries and 2 primaries) in 2011. The Academies Commission warned a year ago it believed some chains were growing too rapidly. But the DfE continues to “guide” schools to its chain despite sending TKAT two warning letters about results in two of its academies in 2013.
It’s possible, however, that TKAT may have done schools a favour in warning them that heads would likely be sacked if schools were “guided” into the TKAT fold. Instead of following like sheep they might just bolt off in another direction.