A chunk of the new 22 free schools approved today will open in
academy trusts that have expanded rapidly in recent years – despite
previous government cautions over quick growth.
The Department for Education received 124 applications for the 13th wave of its free school programme, but less than 18 per cent of these were given the green light.
Almost a third (seven) of the trusts opening new schools have 10 or more schools already. Schools Week analysis of the successful trusts has found many have grown rapidly since September 2017 and already have free schools in the pipeline.
A new report from the National Education Union and UK civil society organisation Global Justice Now examines the problems with privatisation of school education around the world and the role of the Department for International Development in pushing it through its aid programme.
Each year, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is spending millions promoting education privatisation in developing countries. Just as with the privatisation of education in England, our aid budget is being used to promote the interests of big business.
The curriculum in England’s schools “started to suffer” because of academisation, a top Ofsted official has said.
Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director of education, said today that the inspectorate “missed a trick” because it was slow to respond to schools having “the freedoms to do different stuff” after they became academies.
He said this was part of a “double whammy” to the curriculum, with cuts to Ofsted’s budget also forcing the inspectorate to rely more on performance data.
The Department for Education and the government’s Insolvency Service
have signed an agreement to regularly share information about academy
trusts – making it easier to ban trustees who flout the rules.
A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) seeks to “facilitate the
regular exchange of information” between the two organisations, which
“need to be able to share information, in particular information
relating to misconduct, investigations and enforcement within their
The DfE already has the power to ban people from being a school
governor or trustee, but is restricted on what it can investigate about
them beyond their work in the education sector. Equally, those banned
from being directors of academy trusts can still be directors of other
companies not involved in the running of schools.
The Insolvency Service, on the other hand, can disqualify people from being a director of any company, and the MoU seeks to make it easier for the DfE to tip them off if it suspects foul play.