The systems of oversight for academies cost 44 per cent more per
pupil than those of local authority schools, according to a new report,
although the analysis is based largely on estimates of how the
government spends its cash.
A report into the ‘middle tier’ systems of accountability and support – including the Education and Skills Funding Agency, regional schools commissioners and the National College of Teaching and Learning – has estimated that in 2016-17 oversight of academies cost £167.05 per pupil (£687 million) compared to £115.71 per pupil (£524.4 million) in LA schools.
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Local authority maintained schools are slightly more likely to be good or better than academies, newly-released data from the Department for Education (DfE) admits. 89% of LA-maintained schools were in the top two Ofsted grades*.
This compares favourably with inspection results of academies which are not sponsored**. 88% of non-sponsored academies are good or better.
Yet the DfE media department has focussed its praise and publicity on academies.
A one-school trust pays Head £260K. Pays 3 other ’employees’ £100K+. Spends £15K on luxury paint and £6K on scented candles. DfE says, ‘No breaches of the Academies Financial Handbook were found.’ Says it all.
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Part of the government’s flagship free schools programme is
facing mounting financial difficulties because of its unpopularity with
parents and pupils, with schools forced to pay back millions of pounds
to the Department for Education and cut staff after failing to attract
and retain students.
University technical colleges (UTCs), a type of free school
in England that was launched in 2010, ran up debts of £14m last year
after many fell short of their forecasts for pupil numbers. Others had
to borrow money from the DfE’s funding arm, throwing into question their
Research by the Price Bailey accountancy firm disclosed to the Guardian reveals that 31 out of 40 UTCs with published accounts owe money to the DfE’s education and skills funding agency (ESFA), including 25 schools owing a total of £8.6m after educating fewer pupils than they received funding for through their general annual grant.