Huge variation in MAT schools’ Ofsted ratings

New figures published today show a huge variation in the performance of multi-academy trusts in Ofsted school inspections.

Tables reveal for the first time a breakdown of MAT-level performance in judgements from the inspectorate.

They show a total of 13 primary trusts and the same number of secondary trusts where more than half of their schools are rated “inadequate” or “requires improvement” – Ofsted’s two lowest ratings.

Posted in Top story | Leave a comment

31 trusts fail to justify pay – but DfE admits it’s powerless to act

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 their ways.

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.

Posted in Top story | Leave a comment

Gagging clauses rise in large academy trusts as minister questions ‘endemic’ use

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.

Posted in Top story | Leave a comment

Former free schools chair broke the law over £500k payments to own company

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 found.

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 trustees.

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”.

Posted in Top story | Leave a comment

Academisation rebellion: parents resist school takeovers

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.

Posted in Top story | Comments Off on Academisation rebellion: parents resist school takeovers