Like many government departments, the Department for Education is an anaemic institution; less powerful than its opponents believe, yet more unsure of itself than the civil service care to admit. It has had several identities over the last few years, none of which have stuck, but between 2010–2015 it was irreversibly changed by a small group of ideologues.
Those figures — Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings — are now key
players in a government with a large majority. Understanding what
happened in the Department for Education is to understand what is about
to happen across this government, where a combination of dogmatic
advisors, scheming consultants, and contempt for civil servants will
dramatically reshape our public institutions.
When you speak to senior officials at the Department for Education there is often mention of a ‘hinge point.’ For them, the department ticked along nicely between 1997 and 2010 until Michael Gove became minister for education. Then it all changed.
The government decided to approve an application for a 1,710-place
free school despite there being more than 1,600 surplus places within
2 miles of the proposed site, official documents show.
However, the head of the free school has said the numbers used by the
Department for Education were “historic” and the extra capacity was
needed for an “expanding town”.
The free school impact assessment, published for the first time today, acknowledged that approving plans for Great Western Academy in Swindon would have a “high” impact on three of the closest secondaries, and a “moderate” impact on a fourth.
More than a third of a group of multi-academy trusts questioned by
the government over their high chief executive salaries last year went
on to award their top earners more pay, a Tes analysis of their latest accounts shows.
Last February, the Department for Education wrote to 87 MATs asking
them to justify and explain why they were paying salaries of more than
Of those trusts targeted by the DfE, 61 have now published their accounts for 2018-19. And a Tes analysis reveals that 23 of the MATs (38 per cent) then increased the salary of their chief executive or top earner in 2018-19.
It also shows that three-quarters of these MATs – 46 out of 61 – continued to pay at least one member of staff more than £150,000, despite the government intervention.
One of the Tory government’s flagship free schools, the Paxton Academy in Thornton Heath, has been handed an “inadequate” rating by Ofsted inspectors in a damning report published this week.
Dubbed the “Portakabin Academy” because it has been based in temporary classrooms on the rugby pitches of Streatham and Croydon RFC since it opened in September 2014, the school’s thrustingly ambitious headteacher, Johnette Barrett, resigned soon after the Ofsted report was published.
Posted inTop story|Comments Off on Tory flagship free school Portakabin Academy rated inadequate