EXCLUSIVE: Bail out grants to academies nearly twice as much as previously reported

Janet Downs's picture

The amount given in ‘exceptional grants’ to academies to stabilise their accounts in the financial year 2017/18 was nearly twice as much as originally reported, the Department for Education has admitted*.

Earlier this week I reported that £3.5m was paid out in exceptional grants to academies in 2017/18 (see here and here).  But the DfE has told me that due to a ‘technical error’ I was sent an incomplete spreadsheet.  The full amount was just over £6m.

Academies bailed were:

Atlantic Academy Portland: revised amount £818,326.09 (see previous article for details)

Bourne End Academy, Buckinghamshire: £150k.  Bourne End was also bailed out in 2016/17.   It was transferred to E-Act on 1 September 2018. 

Collective Spirit Free School, Oldham: £119k.   Closed August 2017 after being found inadequate in May 2016.  Monitoring in November 2016 found little had improved.  Let’s hope the Year 10 pupils expected to take GCSEs in 2018 found other schools willing to take them half way through their exam courses.

Daventry UTC: £120k.  Closed August 2017

Greater Manchester Sustainable Engineering UTC, Oldham: £221k.  Closed August 2017 after poor GCSE results and an inability to recruit students.  

Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy: £485,500.  Also received £218k bail out in 2016/17.     It’s now Atlandtic Academy Portland (see above).  The combined amount given to this school in two financial years is more that £1.5m.

Martello Grove Academy (aka Martello Primary) £16,485 and Morehall Primary £87.55.  Both these Kent primaries were run by the now notorious Lilac Sky Schools Academies Trust which was slapped with a financial notice to improve in 2017.  They were transferred to Turner Schools (rebrokerage £100k) and appear to be suffering from falling rolls.    

Patchway Community College, Bristol £227k.  Closed August 2017 for ‘fresh start’.   Joined the Olympus Academy Trust on 1 September 2017 and renamed Patchway Community School.

Ringmer Community College, Lewes: £70k.  Closed for ‘fresh start’ in November 2016.  Transferred to King’s Group Academies and renamed King’s Academy Ringmer.

SchoolsCompany The Goodwin Academy:  £247,089.  Also received £700k in 2016/17 to resolve ‘liquidity’ issues.    SchoolsCompany has been stripped of all its schools.  The Goodwin Academy was transferred to TSAT on 1 September 2018.

The Watford UTC: £175k: sponsored by David Meller.  Accounts for year ending 31 August 2018 not at Companies House at time of writing.  I couldn’t find them on its website.

Theale Green School, Reading: £57,719.97.  Closed on 1 April 2018 for ‘fresh start’ with Activate Learning Education Trust.   Became a sponsored academy in September 2013 with Theale Green School Trust (TGST, dissolved October 2018).  Ofsted (May 2017) said the ‘lead school’ was Bradfield College, an independent school with boarding provision.  Final accounts for TGST say they were having ‘ongoing discussions’ with the Education and Skills Funding Agency about ‘continued support’ required because of a fall in pupil numbers.

Thistle Hill Academy, Sheerness: £766.70.  Sponsored academy with The Stour Academy Trust. 

Woolmer Hill School, Haslemere: £50k.  Academy converter with Weydon Multi Academy Trust (WMAT).  Accounts for year ending 31 August 2018 say Woolmer Hill ‘will increase pupil admission numbers to 180 to ensure financial stability’.

Sir Charles KAO UTC: revised amount £373k (see previous article for details)

Plumberow Primary School: £773k (ditto)

Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC: £20k.  (ditto)

The Kingsway Academy: £746k (ditto)

The Ridings Federation Winterbourne International Academy: £525,980 (ditto)

UTC Cambridge: revised amount £255k (ditto)

UTC Harbourside: £300k (ditto)

Wigan UTC: revised amount: £200,452.75 (ditto)


*see here, scroll down.  Ignore date at top of FoI request.  The answer at the bottom refers to 2017/18 

 UPDATE 9 February 2019:  The original article included JCB Academy.  This has been removed.  The DfE has informed me that the amount of £150k awarded to JCB Academy was a repayable loan not a grant (see here, scroll down)


CORRECTION 16 April: Typos - 2018/19 changed to 2017/18.  Apologies

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