Newly published papers show ‘heated debate’ over DfE responsibilities as WCAT discussed giving up academies
Board members at Wakefield City Academies Trust blamed the Department for Education for their trust’s problems when it was on the brink of collapse, new minutes reveal.
In September the controversial academy trust announced that it was giving up all 21 of its schools after concluding it was unable to rapidly improve them.
Prompted by a freedom of information request, WCAT has now published minutes from two “extraordinary board meetings” that took place in June, during which the trust discussed whether it would have to give up some or all of its academies.
‘The excesses in salaries will bring down the whole programme’
The DfE has ‘lost control’ of academy remuneration, a former Ofsted chief inspector believes. As pressure mounts on trusts to justify rampant pay increases, a Tes analysis calls into question the justification given for soaring salaries. Jonathan Owen reports
The power of academy trusts to set their leaders’ salaries encapsulates the huge amount of freedom – and responsibility – they are handed upon leaving local authority control.
Boom in controversial payments to related parties by academy trusts
Thousands of transactions are being made every year by academies to individuals or organisations with which senior staff have relationships
The number of potential conflicts of interest, in the form of “related-party transactions”, at academy trusts has soared by 50 per cent in the space of a single year, according to a Tes analysis of the latest government data.
The overall number of transactions rose from 2,005 in 2014-15 to 3,033 in 2015-16. The 50 per cent increase in related-party transactions outstrips the 16 per cent growth in the number of academies, from 4,722 in 2015 to 5,474 in 2016.y
Exclusive: Academisation in jeopardy due to excessive pay, warns Sir Michael Wilshaw
A quarter of the best paid academy bosses, who earn more than £150,000 a year, have received double-digit pay rises
England’s top-paying academy trusts have approved pay rises of up to 141 per cent, with many academy leaders who run a single school now paid more than the prime minister, according to a Tes analysis.
About one in four (24 per cent) of the country’s best-paid academy bosses enjoyed double-digit pay rises in 2015-16. Almost half of those enjoying inflation-busting increases ran trusts comprised of a single school.
The findings have prompted Sir Michael Wilshaw, former Ofsted chief inspector and a strong supporter of academies, to warn that the academy movement is in danger of being derailed due to “reputational damage”. He said: “The Department for Education has clearly lost control. Public money is not being spent well and the excesses that we’re seeing in relation to salaries will bring down the whole programme unless the DfE gets a grip.”