MAT criticised for gifts, hampers and alcohol purchase

An investigation into a multi academy trust which ran two failing schools has uncovered financial failings which include gifts, alcohol and hampers being purchased for staff and trustees on the trust’s charge card.

Investigators  have also questioned why the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust spent  £138,814 on branding and website design from the most expensive supplier to bid for the work.

The Department for Education has published a report today into the finance and governance at the trust 10 months after the investigation finished and after the trust has been shut down.

https://www.tes.com/news/mat-criticised-gifts-hampers-and-alcohol-purchase

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Major MAT ‘disappointed’ by its off-rolling academy

A major multi-academy trust has said that it is “extremely disappointed” that one of its academies has off-rolled pupils and misused attendance figures.

Ormiston Denes Academy, in Lowestoft, was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors, who found the school had taken pupils off its roll in Year 11 who had been dual-registered at a pupil referral unit.

The report also reveals that the school misused attendance figures by not properly recording the absence of some pupils who been out of school for months or those on part-time timetables.

https://www.tes.com/news/major-mat-disappointed-its-rolling-academy

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What can teachers expect from the Conservatives?

Amid the turmoil of Brexit, what education news can we expect to make the headlines over the next four days during the Conservative Party conference?

https://www.tes.com/news/what-can-teachers-expect-conservatives

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Two thirds of academy trusts have below-average results for disadvantaged pupils

New research into how the sponsored academies programme has served the interests of disadvantaged pupils across the country has found “significant variation” in outcomes for pupils eligible for free school meals.

Analysis by professors Becky Francis and Merryn Hutchings found that while a small number of chains are “consistently outperforming”, a larger number are achieving results “that are not improving and may be harming the prospects of their disadvantaged students”.

In 2017, poorer pupils in 12 of the 58 trusts included in the study attained above the national average, with three chains – the City of London Academies Trust, the Diocese of London and the Harris Federation – achieving “well above”.

However, disadvantaged pupils at 30 of the chains performed below average, and a further further eight trusts recorded “well below average” attainment for that group.

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Academy trust leaders struggling to juggle finances and growth

The majority of academy trust leaders are worried that growth could have a negative effect on schools in their trust – but financial pressures mean many are trying to expand anyway, new research reveals.

Findings released by The Key, in partnership with the Forum Strategy, show that only 12 per cent of leaders are “not at all concerned” about their financial viability over the next three years.

But the research reveals that most trust leaders have concerns about expanding. Fifty one per cent said that growth could have a negative effect on existing schools in the trust and their ability to support them.

Despite this, 54 per cent said they are currently trying to grow their trust in order to reach economies of scale, with 25 per cent actively looking for new schools to acquire, 24 per cent in the process of acquiring schools and five per cent planning to merge with another trust.

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