The failure of the academy chains

Henry Stewart's picture
This was the source of the information for the article in the Guardian:

Almost 600 of England's secondary schools now belong to "chains".  These are groups of schools that have a strange independent status. They are not elected by anybody or accountable to the local public in any way. They cannot be inspected by Ofsted, in the way that local education authorities are. They are not even required by the DfE to publish the expenditure of the individual schools they control.

If you want to know how your local maintained school is spending its money, you can check the DfE's Performance Tables. But look up an academy and you will find only the message "No 2012-2013 Consistent Financial Reporting data". For academies that are independent you will find the individual audited accounts. They are harder to understand, for the non-accountant, than the simple financial information given for non-academies but they do show what that school spends. However if you look up one of Ormiston's schools, for example, you will in the audited accounts find £77 million of public money that is not broken down by school in any way. (accounts available from each Ormiston school page, such as here)

DfE in breach of Cameron's promise and in definance of Public Accounts Committee

This is a direct breach of the promise made by David Cameron to the House of Commons Liaison Committee in March 2012. He promised per pupil information on the money going into each school and the results coming out. The Public Accounts Committee last April demanded that this situation change:

"the Department must insist that every Academy Trust provides it with data showing school level expenditure, including per-pupil costs, and with a level of detail comparable to that available for maintained schools. The Department must then publish this data so that proper judgements and comparisons can be made by Parliament and the public."

This demand seems to have been completely ignored and no school level expenditure is available, or shows any signs of becoming available, for chains.

Chain performance is heavily based on GCSE equivalents


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