Wednesday 8 February 2012

Academy chains: No case for expansion

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Of the 249 schools listed in the DfE data as ‘sponsor-led’ academies, almost a third are run by chains. As Fiona Millar pointed out in the Guardian last summer, these are one of the fastest growing aspects of our new education landscape. The Oasis chain has grown from £3 million to £70 million between 2006 and 2010 and Ark from £3 million to £117.5 million. The E-act chain grew from £15.5 million to £60 million in just one year, from 2009 to 2010. (Since Fiona published this information, the chains have chosen to make their accounts private and so future figures will not be available.)

The chains appear to be strongly favoured by government. Toby Young, for instance, has commented that future free schools will only be able to get through government procedures if they are run by chains. E-act alone plans to run 126 schools by 2015. So how are the chains performing?

Read the full article on the Local Schools Network

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1 comment

  1. steve White said:

    The government has been obsessed with market solutions to address increasing needs in education and the need to compete internationally. They would argue that it is about raising standards in education but what happens when the market provides no answer and standards fall? This is the problem for them now as the so called academy magic bullet fails and their whole program for change unravels.

    The prospect we now face is academies failing to improve standards; the government propping them up with extra money for a while but eventually many of them closing, along with all the chaos that will cause. Add into this mix the mess of free schools competing with LAs and academies and you have market chaos, not a market solution. The other aspect of the market that we can expect to see is the monopoly chains increasing dictatorial power.

    The problem with the big chains is that they will be like big banks demanding more and more bail outs by the government. They will demand more money to keep the results up and the government will be forced to pay or admit the whole academy initiative was faulty from the start. Eventually we finish up with a costly system that sucks money from the tax payer and delivers profit to the chains. Meanwhile the UK slips further down the league tables until the whole thing is reformed again. Help!

    17 February 2012 at 11:43am