School academy plan ‘doomed to fail’, warns Blunkett
Former education secretary baffled by proposals to reform school approach
Former education secretary David Blunkett has warned that government plans to turn all schools into academies by 2022 are doomed to fail and could turn into a fiasco similar to Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms.
Writing in the Observer, Blunkett, who was the first to develop plans for academy schools under the Labour government in 2000, accuses Tory ministers of seeking “permanent revolution” instead of organic change, in a way that could discredit the entire academies programme.
Academy chain’s fees for ‘consultants’ put schools programme under scrutiny
Griffin Schools Trust paid more than £800,000 in two years to consulting companies in which its founders or trustees have financial interests
The government is facing fresh questions over the accountability of its academy schools programme after it emerged that one small chain paid more than £800,000 in just two years to “consulting” companies in which its founders or trustees have major financial interests .
The Griffin Schools Trust, whose accounts show that it breached financial guidelines in 11 different ways in 2013, has paid more than £700,000 to a company wholly owned by its joint chief executives, Liz Lewis and Ange Tyler, over the past two financial years.
‘Superhead’ praised by Michael Gove lavished tens of thousands of pounds on staff
A ‘superhead’ praised by Michael Gove for how his academy is run spent thousands of pounds on champagne receptions, hotels and trips on the Orient Express.
Michael Wilkins was described by the Education Secretary as a “great school leader” for his work at Outwood Grange school in Wakefield.
But details of a rewards culture that saw money lavished on alcohol, overseas trips and hotels for staff have been disclosed after a financial audit by Wakefield Council.
A lack of financial controls also allowed Mr Wilkins to pay tens of thousands of pounds into his private company, signed off only by himself and Jim Walkden, chairman of governors, in transactions described as “not legitimate”.
Champagne and trips on the Orient Express: Superhead’s ‘excessive’ spending spree to boost teachers’ morale
An ‘excessive’ rewards culture for staff, involving lavish spending on foreign trips, alcohol and even the Orient Express, has been revealed at a school run by a ‘superhead’.
Michael Wilkins, 54, has been praised by successive governments for his educational achievements, which have cost the taxpayer £1million over four years.
But a financial audit has uncovered an astonishing pattern of spending on perks and high living for staff at Outwood Grange in Wakefield, and has led to the school being reported to several bodies, including the taxman.
School results don’t justify academy trust pay, says Ofsted
Top executives at some of England’s biggest academy chains are paid huge salaries while pupils are left to get poor results, Ofsted says.
Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw highlighted serious weaknesses at seven multi-academy trusts in a hard-hitting letter to the education secretary.
He said the trusts were sitting on millions of pounds that should be used to raise standards.
A Conservative party source described the comments as “partial and skewed”.
‘It is surprising and disappointing to hear Sir Michael attack the academies programme,” said a Conservative spokesman.