The fight against forced academisation

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£7m of ‘questionable’ related party transactions in Academies

Slater insisted the government is cracking down on related party transactions in academy trusts.

Using 2016/17 accounts, he said the DfE investigated 108 cases of related party transactions and found 59 were “wanting”. These questionable transactions amounted to £7 million which Slater said was only about 0.03 per cent of the overall academies budget– but Ian Mearns interjected that it was “more than was taken in the Great Train Robbery”.

From April, trusts will have to inform the DfE about related party transactions in advance and get government approval for any that are above £20,000. Slater said the new system would be “the most rigorous regime anywhere in the world”.

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Ofsted praises school with silent corridors and high exclusion rate

Inspectors have praised a school which uses silent corridors and excludes a “relatively high” number of pupils, labelling its behaviour policies as “outstanding”.

In a move likely to spark further division between supporters and critics of no-excuses behaviour policies, Ofsted has issued Magna Academy in Poole with a glowing report following an inspection in December.

Inspectors, sent in following concerns over “high levels of pupil movement”, even claimed that some pupils with special educational needs feel “reassured” by the school’s use of silent corridors.

But the report, which follows concerns over mixed messages from the watchdog over behaviour, has been criticised by an inclusion expert, who accused the watchdog of condoning “extreme” behaviour management tactics.

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Only One in three academy trusts reviews pay after government warning

More than a third of academy trusts targeted by the government over CEO pay have chosen to review their policies or commit to future salary cuts for bosses.

Jonathan Slater, the DfE’s permanent secretary, confirmed today that of 213 trusts that received letters asking for justification of their bosses’ pay, 131 have demonstrated “that their processes for setting executive salaries were compliant with the challenge set out in the 2017 academies financial handbook”.

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Education spending falls by more than £7 billion since the Tories came to power

Education spending has fallen by more than £7 billion since the Tories came to power.

The Mirror has exposed how parents across the country are being sent begging letters to help cover the cost of paper, pens and even toilet roll.

Now analysis by the House of Commons Library, reveals how real terms spending on schools and colleges fell from £95.5 billion in 2011-12 to £87.8 billion in 2017-18 – a fall of £7.7 billion in annual spending.

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Hinds to face education committee grilling over academy accountability and exclusions

Damian Hinds has been summoned to appear in front of MPs to answer questions about academy trust accountability, exclusions and the state of careers advice.

The education secretary will be grilled by the powerful parliamentary education committee on Wednesday next week.

The committee is “likely to want to ask about issues including multi-academy trusts and accountability, school exclusions and careers advice”, a spokesperson for the committee said.

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