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Friday, 17 January 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014 Posted by Hari 1 comment Labels: , , ,
Posted by Hari on Friday, January 17, 2014 with 1 comment | Labels: , , ,

KJ, Chris and Fee get to the heart of the public/private debate...

SOURCE GUARDIAN: Revealed: taxpayer-funded academies paying millions to private firms
Taxpayer-funded academy chains have paid millions of pounds into the private businesses of directors, trustees and their relatives, documents obtained from freedom of information requests show. The payments have been made for a wide range of services including consultancy fees, curriculums, IT advice and equipment, travel, expenses and legal services by at least nine academy chains. Critics fear that the Department for Education (DfE) is not closely monitoring the circulation of public money from academies to private firms. Since 2010 more than 3,444 schools – including more than half of secondary schools – have taken on academy or free school status.

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  1. Institute of Education report highlights conflicts of interest in academy sponsorship arrangements:
    http://www.ioe.ac.uk/newsEvents/104429.html

    The report, written by Professor Toby Greany at the Institute of Education (IOE) and Jean Scott, associate of the IOE's London Centre for Leadership in Learning (LCLL), examines recent conflicts of interest in academy sponsorship arrangements as background for an inquiry by the Education Select Committee into academies and free schools.

    Launching the research, Graham Stuart, Chair of the Committee, said:

    "Academy sponsors can bring much needed skills to schools and help raise standards. This important research has identified, however, a number of loopholes in the current arrangements that could work against the best interests of academies and their students".

    The research identifies four broad areas where real, or perceived, conflicts of interest may occur for academy trusts under the current arrangements:

    • Connected (or related) party transactions: where an individual on the board of a trust benefits directly or through their company;

    • Sponsors providing paid services: where a sponsor supplies services such as school improvement and/or 'back office' services under a monopoly license that prevents the trust from using any other similar services.

    • Intangible conflicts that do not directly involve money: these include abuses of power such as inappropriate control exerted in the 'Trojan Horse' schools or where an FE college decides in its own interest to close the sixth form of a school that it sponsors.

    • Conflicts that arise in the wider system: For example where a contracted Department for Education (DfE) academy broker also works for an academy trust that they then invite to pitch for a new school.

    For more information and to access a copy of the full report, please visit the Parliamentary Education Select Committee website (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news/academy-research-report-published/).

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