Thirty-one academy trusts have failed to justify their levels of
executive pay to the government, the Department for Education has said.
But officials today admitted they cannot take any enforcement action
against chains which ignore their most recent warning, leaving the
department having to just write letters until they justify pay or change
Eileen Milner, the chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, has issued a second warning to 31 trusts which have “failed to provide adequate justification” for paying multiple members of staff more than £100,000-a-year. The 31 were among 213 trusts to have received one of four warning letters over the past year-and-a-half.
The use of non-disclosure agreements is increasing in some large
academy trusts, just as senior ministers are questioning their use.
Lord Agnew, the academies minister, told MPs last week that he is
worried about the “endemic” use of the “gagging clauses” in the public
sector, while Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has vowed to end the
use of NDAs that prevent NHS whistleblowers coming forward.
Figures obtained by Schools Week shed light on the trusts’ use of the controversial agreements, which prevent people from discussing confidential information, often as part of a financial pay-out.
The former chair of two free schools broke the law over payments of
more than £500,000 to his own company, a government investigation has
A probe by the Education and Skills Funding Agency has cast
“significant doubts on the legitimacy” of money paid by Collective
Spirit Free School and Manchester Creative Studio to the Collective
Spirit Community Trust, a company with links to a number of its
However, investigators encountered “substantial difficulties” establishing “any reasonable audit trail of financial transactions or evidence to assure the regularity of funds spent by the trusts”.
A wave of resistance by parents against their schools being taken
over by academy trusts is building across the country, with protests in
Essex, Kent, London, West Yorkshire, East Sussex, Dorset, Hertfordshire and beyond, according to campaigners.
This week there were two big protests by parents and teachers: one at Waltham Holy Cross primary school in Waltham Abbey, Essex, last Sunday; and on Wednesday strikes and protests closed three schools in Peacehaven, near Brighton in East Sussex.
Campaigners say there has been a shift in parents’ attitudes, with many now better informed about academisation and more willing to challenge decisions to take their community schools out of local authority control and hand them to private trusts.