Academies Enterprise Trust (AET)

(110 Posts)
riddlesgalore Wed 13-Jun-12 11:41:10

This multiple academy trust (AET) is it seems interested in taking over the local secondary school that my children attend. They say they have a good track record of school inmprovement in other areas - is this true? Does anyone have any information?

lostinpants Wed 13-Jun-12 14:50:50
riddlesgalore Thu 14-Jun-12 13:48:28

Goodness - that isn't very encouraging.

Rosebud05 Fri 15-Jun-12 22:18:07

They have a good track record in cutting frontline teaching and support staff and paying some executive head a huge salary, but not in school improvement.

They're also planning to double their size over the next year.

How is the school doing at the moment?

Elibean Sun 17-Jun-12 18:31:03

Not a particular supporter (or detractor), but that website is bound to be negative about them, isn't it?!

I've met one of their head men, at an open afternoon discussing our local secondary (they took over there a couple of years ago). To be fair, he did seem to care passionately about children and education - I liked his values, and his passion.

My own concern is that they seem to be expanding too fast - how can they do a good job when spreading themselves so thin? confused

Rosebud05 Sun 17-Jun-12 20:06:28

AET are taking over 2 primaries near me. They're very slick and were at pains to tell staff and parents that 'nothing would change.'

In one school, they've spend hundreds of thousands of pounds restoring a bell tower, new flooring etc. Then announced that there will be 50% cut in support staff from Sept and that the 3 teachers leaving won't be replaced.

EvilTwins Mon 18-Jun-12 17:55:05

I reach in an AET academy. We made massive cuts the year before they came in, so, as a teacher, nothing much seems to have changed. I have private health care now grin. The biggest issue we have with them is that the things we seemed to be promised, in terms of financial injection, haven't materialised. They haven't changed the t&c for staff, and the training courses they've sent in have been excellent. It just feels like a bit of a damp squib though- we were expecting obvious change for the better. I don't imagine parents would be able to spot the difference at all.

riddlesgalore Tue 19-Jun-12 13:44:10

EvilTwins: How long has your school been an AET academy.

EvilTwins Tue 19-Jun-12 17:37:43

Just under a year.

warwick1 Sat 07-Jul-12 13:09:58

That really isn't long enough to find out what the impact of AET policies and changes will have on the school, students and staff. Looking at the experience of other AET acquired schools (academies), it usually takes a couple of years at least for the true impact to emerge. Scrutinise the courses they introduce, they may be superficially good for the school league results but may not be in the long term interests of the students. The mass downgrading to GCSE equivalents in other AET academies has worried both concerned parents and staff (now belately Gove). Also the impact of increased centralised management costs on budgets often appear to result in fewer experenced staff and more newly qualified. Academy chain groups do not cover all the services previously supplied by LA's, academies usually have to incur additional expenses not apparent when first 'sold the idea' of becoming an academy. Often these services are provided at a cost by the AET or their preferred suppliers!!

EvilTwins Sat 07-Jul-12 16:04:31

Warwick- AET have had no say in course changes. We, as a school, have introduced new GCSEs for September 2012 as a result of the changes introduced by the government. No school or academy is going to bring in a glut of equivalence courses now- they no longer count in headline figures so what in earth would be the point?

Warwick- what's your involvement with AET? You are very negative about them. I am keeping an open mind at the moment. So far, their involvement in our school has been minimal. They certainly haven't made any staff cuts, and have no part in recruitment.

warwick1 Mon 09-Jul-12 16:29:39

I agree EvilTwins, I think the lesson to be learnt is that academy chains are brought in to provide a quick fix, the question is given the cost to the tax payer, who benefits. Light regulation is the buzz word for academy chains, but where have we heard that recently!!!

Chain academy groups led the way in introducing GCSE equivalents (as they did with modular courses with multiple repeats inc A Levels), providing an almost immediate boost to their academies in the league tables, as a result they were handed even more academies to manage. Chain academy groups are as a result becoming very lucrative businesses.

I agree, EvilTwins, it will also be interesting to watch the league table results of these academies and schools fall after 2014 as a consequence of Gove's current changes when equivalents are no longer counted. The average % drop in 2011 *A-C (inc maths and Eng) results, when equivalents were not counted in schools was 6%, in academies, particularly chain groups it was 10%. As you are particularly interested in the AET, check their 2011 results when equivalents were not counted. You will see their results dropped even more in most of the academies they managed, as a consequence of relying to much on GCSE equivalent courses. I would ask, how did students actually benefit from these 'equivalent GCSE's'? After all chain groups were given academies in order to improve student education!!!

What concerns me about academy chains, is what means given the light regulation and apparent unaccountability, will they use in the future to build superficial performance improvements.

These chains, having persuaded many schools to become academies under their management by boasting about the 'performance improvements' and 'exam result enhancements' they can bring about, will need to innovate to meet these expectations. Will these innovations be for the benefit of their students any more than the now exposed exam results hype and course selections have been in the past.

Those parents who live in the catchment area of a 'converter' academy as opposed to those parents who live in the catchment area of a 'chain' academy, at least know that decisions are made 'freely' in house, without having to follow the strategies and policies of the trust's board and that the school governors are also not 'directed' by this remote board. As you say EvilTwins, your school had massive cuts the year before the chain group came in, saving them the trouble no doubt. Chain groups are often in discussion with the DFE and the LA well before they take over a school. I would suggest EvilTwins that it will take a while before the true costs and benefits become obvious, hopefully your school will get good value for money.

EvilTwins Mon 09-Jul-12 17:36:09

Warwick- I hope so too. As I said, we've been with AET just about a year. However, we've been teaching BTECs since 2004 so that doesn't follow the pattern of academy chains pushing them. I believe that BTECs and other equivalents have been around for an awful lot longer than the idea of academy chains- I taught GNVQ in a school between 2000 and 2004, for example.

It remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be. My school was in dire straights in some ways and we'd been told that we had to academise in order to guarantee our future. AET were, I expect, waiting in the wings to rush in and save us!

Dawntreader Wed 18-Jul-12 00:56:23

Warwick where is your evidence that academy chains introduce equivalents to GCSEs? My understanding is that academies taking over weak or underperforming schools tend to inherit poor curriculums and over reliance on low value equiv qualifications. The question is how long it takes them to strengthen and broaden the teaching range an standards so that te can offer a better choice of high value GCSEs. But I don't think it's right to penalise chains that have taken on the task of turning around some of the toughest schools by judging them against a national average that by definition starts with a higher base line, better qualified teachers (crucially that start with higer morale as well as experience).

warwick1 Thu 19-Jul-12 17:18:59

Dawntreader - You might like to check the report from the National Leadership College on Academies for the evidence. In addition the schools that I am familiar with that were taken over by chains immediately increased the number of 'equivalents' GCSE courses (including in core subjects) and hey presto up went their results in the league tables. Unfortunately the students taking them found out eventually that local 'outstanding' colleges wouldn't accept them for A level courses even though they obtained the highest grades.

EvilTwins Thu 19-Jul-12 17:23:12

Warwick - I have to agree with Dawntreader - certainly that is my experience. As I said above, we were already doing a lot of BTEC courses when we became an academy. From September, we have reduced this, and introduced new GCSE courses. That's more to do with Gove than AET though.

warwick1 Fri 20-Jul-12 10:51:26

Yes EvilTwins, I agree, now that Gove has discounted over 3000 'equivalents' courses this year, ALL schools and academies have had to change their 'equivalents' courses to new GCSE courses, in 2014 these changes will start to impact the league table results. As the National Leadership College stated in their report, academy chains will be hit hardest by this change as they have in the past used the most 'equivalents'. This data is available in government KS4 2011 publications. The question is, as chains used these fixes previously more than most other academies and schools, will they play straight now or will they find other means to skew their results!! After all, that is what chain groups do, share knowledge and practise, good or bad. Time will tell I guess. It has taken several years to prove what was happening, I guess it will take several more years to find out if the solution works any better. Bit like tax avoidance isn't it, those in the know always find another route.

warwick1 Thu 16-May-13 14:11:59

Obviously the DFE are not so happy with the performance of the Academies Enterprise Trust as they have now barred them from taking on any more academies because they haven't improved the quality of teaching and learning in the schools that they are already managing.

The Academies Enterprise Trust is the biggest player in the field, it has grown to 64 academies, taking on 42 schools last year alone. However, only two of its schools are rated outstanding, 30 are requiring significant improvement and 18 are failing.

Elibean Thu 16-May-13 14:38:07

Our local secondary is flourishing, having been taken on by AET a couple of years ago...

Only anecdotal, of course. I'm sure the Head and staff have to take a lot of the credit, too. But still, it has come on in absolute leaps and bounds - from failing to good in two years.

Elibean Thu 16-May-13 14:38:47

But - as previous post - I think they took on far too much too fast. So slowing down and managing what they have already sounds like an excellent idea.

warwick1 Thu 16-May-13 15:23:32

Elibean: You are probably right, these chain groups take the cash and then leave local staff to get on with it, sometimes they swim, sometimes they sink. Unfortunately DFE data appears to show that more likely they sink, which begs the question why are chain groups needed in the first place. Companies like the AET appear to make good profits which probably explains the super salaries they pay themselves, but surely given the excessive profits they could afford to train academy staff so they were all 'out standing'. As it stands of the 64 academies only two are considered 'out standing', and one of those is under the old Ofsted criteria where teaching and learning only had to be 'good' to qualify for an outstanding category.

Academies Enterprise Trust (CH Reg: 06625091)Private Limited Company / Registered Charity:

Year 2011-12 – turnover £ 341M, retained Profit £ 195M

Year 2010-11 – turnover £ 128M, retained Profit £ 64M

Year 2009-10 – turnover £ 83M, retained Profit £ 44M

prh47bridge Thu 16-May-13 16:55:47

Just for clarity, AET is a charity. It therefore doesn't make a profit as such and the trustees are unpaid. It may, of course, have a surplus of income over expenditure.

christinarossetti Thu 16-May-13 17:31:33

Both of the schools taken over by AET in September 2012 in Haringey (Noel Park and Nightingale/Trinity) were found not to be making reasonable progress by Ofsted within two terms of opening, and both reports explicitly say that AET have not offered adequate support.

I think the Head and staff at the school near elibean should take all the credit by the sounds of it.

warwick1 Thu 16-May-13 18:02:16

Yes prh47. As a charity they do not pay tax and there isn't any restrictions on the salaries they pay themselves even board members can earn consultancy fees. All at taxpayers expense, not bad hey.

EvilTwins Thu 16-May-13 18:28:04

They also have a charitable trust which gives grants to students/ projects in their academies, so at least some of their profit is going back in. I teach at an AET academy and have recently received a grant for a project I'm running. One of our top sportsmen has also received a grant. Their CPD is great, and is provided free to their academies. My school is doing well, but anyone who thinks any company, AET or otherwise is going to be able to turn a failing school around in a couple of years is hopelessly naive. A school which has been through special measures has to battle with culture, potential lack of parental support/ interest, disillusioned staff, a lower intake, a lower achieving intake and (the killer) the fact that mud sticks. My school came out of SM 2 yrs ago and it's only now (ie Sept 2014) that our yr 7 intake has gone back up to where it once was. Yes, AET took on too many schools too quickly, IMO, but those expecting an academisation to have an instant effect are deluded. I'm not a fan of Gove and his antics, but so far, AET have done a good job.

warwick1 Thu 16-May-13 19:04:48

So how long does it take to turn a school around. The AET have been controlling some schools for nearly six years and they still haven't managed to achieve 'good' teaching and learning in them, despite the great CPD you maintain they provide.

Also, if AET are spending their massive profits on good, worth while projects, why aren't they shown in their accounts.

I suspect that those academies performing well are relying more on their own staff rather than AET support.

prh47bridge Thu 16-May-13 19:05:42

Pay is set by the board members who are the trustees of the charity. Apart from the CEO or equivalent the board members are not employees and cannot legally be employed by the charity. They do not therefore set their own pay. They set the pay of their staff. And of course, since they receive the same funding as other schools plus a bit to cover the services not provided by the LA, if the trustees set salaries too high they will not be able to meet their obligations under the funding agreement.

Yes, trustees can earn consultancy fees provided the charity complies with the relevant law which ensures they are not overpaid for the work provided. Most trustees do not earn consultancy fees from the charity.

warwick1 Thu 16-May-13 19:44:12

That's the theory prh47 !!! Have you seen the salaries of the CEO and other trust staff. Believe me board members can and have been paid as consultants. take a peek at the accounts.

muminlondon Thu 16-May-13 20:14:32

But PRH the trust does own profit-making companies: e.g. AET Solutions.

I think there is a problem of accountability and transparency for all academy chains, not just AET or ARK, and it started with Labour. To be fair to AET, many of its failing schools were taken over because they were failing. But Conservative policy has allowed further rapid expansion and forced academisation without even a pause to look at results. However, unlike the Labour academies they have not had the massive rebuilding programmes, new head or even changed their admissions policy (e.g. banded intake) which has sometimes helped schools in deprived areas overcome inbuilt disadvantage (it helped Mossbourne). So they are often not making any more progress, and more importantly, impact on parental confidence, than LA schools in the same position (i.e. mixed results). League table pressure has distorted this too - too much emphasis on C/D boundaries and equivalents to the detriment of individual children's progress and a broad curriculum. I think this will change but they have been 'duking the stats' (gaming) up till now and it get harder for them to prove they are a better model.

And there is just no evidence yet that academies are a good solution for primary schools - better than working with a local authority and temporarily having stronger schools as a partner. Primary schools are very local and need local community and professional support.

prh47bridge Thu 16-May-13 23:10:12

I am aware of the salaries paid to some AET staff. Some LAs pay similar salaries. I am not in a position to judge whether or not the salaries are justified for the staff concerned. The fact remains that the staff involved cannot set their own salaries.

I stated clearly that trustees can earn consultancy fees. Most do not. For those that do the charity must comply with the law. This means, amongst other things, that the trustees can be held personally liable if any of the trustees (or any company controlled by a trustee or their family) has been paid over the odds for the services provided.

Yes, AET own ONE profit making company, AET Solutions. This is not unusual. Many charities own profit making subsidiaries. As AET Solutions is wholly owned by AET any profits it makes go to AET - every single penny (they actually gift aid the whole lot). The profits do not go to the trustees or any other private individual either directly or indirectly. And the trustees cannot be employed by any company owned by the charity.

christinarossetti Fri 17-May-13 07:59:07

"I suspect that those academies performing well are relying more on their own staff rather than AET support."

Exactly, Warwick. Which is why they've been barred from taking on more schools and Ofsted have been very explicit in saying that they haven't provided adequate support to the schools they have taken on. The two primaries in Haringey only went into an Ofsted category in late 2011 (and were handed over before any monitoring visits had taken place) so can hardly be described as under-performing for years.

Which makes one wonder rather what on earth the cash is being spent on.

muminlondon Fri 17-May-13 16:16:22

Only about a third of their secondary academies have been inspected so far. This year two have been judged inadequate (which they were before) but one which had been in special measures for years before they took over is finally 'good'. So the evidence is contradictory.

warwick1 Fri 17-May-13 17:20:33

So muminLondon, both the DFE and Ofsted are wrong!!

Yes christinarossetti, the old Ofsted regime appeared to assist nicely in placing schools in 'special measures' ready for a quick handover to a sponsor conveniently waiting in the wings. Or maybe I am being cynical!! I suspect RPA if given the funding without being tied to a sponsor would have done just as well.

After all, academies have to pay for the support and services they receive from these chain groups, they are not provided free - that's where all the money goes christinarossetti.

In my experience Prh47, strong, powerful chain group CEO's influence the Trust Boards in much the same way as strong powerful Headteachers influenced their governing bodies. Not a lot has changed, remember the theory that governing bodies run schools.

prh47bridge Sat 18-May-13 12:20:52

I'm not convinced that happens with the chains. There are some pretty powerful people on their boards and I would be surprised if they allow themselves to be dominated by their CEO. In that respect I am more concerned about stand alone academies. If the head dominated the governors prior to conversion that dominance is likely to continue post conversion.

christinarossetti Sat 18-May-13 12:28:38

From this article - "In particular the report notes that some of the group's financial practices were inappropriate for an organisation with a turnover of many millions of pounds and that the boundary between E-ACT and its money-making subsidiary E-ACT Enterprises Limited (EEL) was blurred, with some EEL expenses being paid out of public money."

E-Act previously existed as EduTrust where financial irregularities and misuse of public funds were also found. The then chairman Bhatia resigned just as Liddington has just done.

How many goes to not spend public money on it's own senior staff jollies and profit making subsidiaries does one academy chain get?

muminlondon Sat 18-May-13 15:33:16

'I am more concerned about stand alone academies.'

There are different problems but the whole model of academies, whether chains or standalone, is a problem. Looking at the number of schools judged inadequate, there's a greater proportion of sponsored academies than of community schools (if I've counted/filtered correctly on the performance tables) and there is a worrying number of converter academies, despite the fact that most were good outstanding to begin with.

36 sponsored academies out of 404 (9%)
34 foundation schools out of 565 (6%)
52 community schools out of 1158 (4%)
13 converter academies out of 1200/381 inspected (1%/3%)
9 voluntary aided schools out of 442 (2%)

Some of the inadequate sponsored academies are standalone schools and some of the converter academies have sponsors (e.g. the Ormiston ones) but neither the league tables nor Edubase are transparent about who the sponsors are, unless the school has been rebranded with the name of a chain. There can also be many complicated co-sponsor arrangements.

One-off academies and foundation schools (of which many are secondary moderns) are, as you suggest prh47bridge, really vulnerable. The statistics prove to me that those schools with the back-up of a local authority and/or diocese are the safest.

With AET, it may be an advantage for some schools that it takes a hands-off approach if there is strong representation from the local community, but equally it hasn't been effective improvement partner in the case of three schools judged inadequate. Who is picking up the pieces at East Point Academy and Sandown Bay now they are back in special measures? Has AET been allowed to continue there while community schools are forcibly academised? Other chains that are more hands-on give less autonomy to individual schools than even LA maintained schools enjoy and override local concerns.

At the same time, a local authority is no longer able to plan for demographic changes or to even attempt to iron out inequalities in admissions.

Quite apart from any possible financial irregularities I don't see the benefits of academy status for school improvement either and can only see wastage and inflexibility. The outstanding converter academies were mostly outstanding previously (or would have been on their next inspection). The outstanding sponsored academies were seldom schools previously in special measures - they had either started that improvement prior to conversion and received rebuilding grants with the sponsor or were new schools (Mossbourne) starting with a new head, new building, new admissions policy.

deadsimple Tue 21-May-13 13:21:24

If the AET has a hands off approach, the question is, what is the point of them other than provide big salaries for their own staff and selected academy staff.

EvilTwins Tue 21-May-13 17:08:24

IME, they are as "hands off" as the LA ever were. I do wonder what people think it's supposed to be like. AET's training is better than the LA training. Their IT support is better. They don't send people into school like some kind of superheroes, but then, neither did the LA.

christinarossetti Tue 21-May-13 17:15:04

Then why are so many of their schools not doing well, and why are Ofsted explicitly saying that recently taken over schools aren't being given adequate support by AET, eviltwins?

EvilTwins Tue 21-May-13 17:19:57

No idea. I only work in one of their academies. They are no more present in my school than the LA were, but then, we're not failing. Their CEO has been to visit. He seemed nice enough- told me to apply to the charitable trust for a grant for a project I'm doing.

I don't think they're any better or worse than any other academy chain.

deadsimple Tue 21-May-13 17:46:36

Well eviltwins, if their training is so good, why as Christina says, are so many of their academies not performing. Do you get the training as part of their annual service fee? If your academy isn't failing and has never been failing, why have you got a sponsor anyway?

EvilTwins Tue 21-May-13 17:58:20

I don't know. The training we've had in has been very specific- mostly about new ICT and literacy initiatives, though also a Shakespeare one. Yes, it's "free". We were in SM for two years. Becoming an academy was part of the government imposed "recovery plan". Since coming out of SM two years ago we have made lots of progress and are finally getting over the stigma (and low intakes) that SM tends to bring. I am not an academy fan in general, but in the area where I work, we were one of the last two secondaries to convert. Once you get to that point, accessing services gets harder and harder, so becoming an academy seems almost inevitable. Which I expect is Gove's point.

muminlondon Tue 21-May-13 20:03:34

EvilTwins did your school get a new headteacher when AET took over? Now there's no money left for rebuilding, parents' aren't taken in by just a new uniform and logo. Just interested to know how your school improved as I suspect it could have done it without a sponsor.

EvilTwins Tue 21-May-13 22:53:57

muminlondon, no we didn't get a new head. I do think we would have made the improvements regardless. In fact, we DID make them without AET because they didn't take over until after we came out of SM. we didn't get a choice though- as I said, it was part of the "recovery package" imposed on us. Something about OFSTED needing guarantees for the future of the school.

christinarossetti Wed 22-May-13 08:02:45

I'm glad that things are working out for your school, eviltwins, but your last post just shows how ideologically driven the academy agenda is.

A school with sufficient capacity to improve and good leadership (ie your school) is forced to be taken over by AET to 'guarantee outcomes'.

Said school makes improvements, comes out of SM as a community school, and is then handed over to AET.

Fast forward a year or so, and AET are being explicitly criticised by Ofsted for not supporting their schools adequately and indeed barred from taking on any more schools.

What a sorry mess.

warwick1 Thu 23-May-13 15:46:59

So who actually benefits from this 'sorry mess then' ? Judging by the salaries paid to senior AET staff it's obviously a lucrative business to be employed in, but how are the students benefitting and where is the benefit to the country (taxpayer).

prh47bridge Thu 23-May-13 18:39:56

Some LAs pay similar salaries, so it can be equally lucrative to work in community schools or LA education departments. The taxpayer does not directly benefit as an academy costs the taxpayer the same as any other type of school to run. Startup costs mean it costs the taxpayer a little more in the short term. Those who support academies say there is evidence that they improve standards. They point to evidence from existing academies and also to studies from Sweden showing that their equivalent schools perform better than state schools and also that state schools near an academy perform better than state schools elsewhere. The evidence is clearly open to interpretation. However as all three major political parties are, to a greater or lesser extent, in support of academies at the moment that is clearly the way we are going.

christinarossetti Thu 23-May-13 20:48:31

Pointing to existing academies and saying that there is 'evidence' that academies improve standards is ideological, not evidence or empirical based. To make these types of statements one needs to deliberately ignore evidence like this -

and this -

The fact that all three major political parties are supporting the academy agenda at the moment means that it's even more important that ordinary people look at the facts themselves.

Talkinpeace Thu 23-May-13 21:10:55

I deal with Charity accounts and public sector accounts for a living.
I genuinely do not understand why you have so much faith in the altruism of the Charity sector.
Once you get to director level I have never, ever seen it.
The front line staff may be, but the head honchos are business people.
Even more so in Academy chains where the cash flow from Government is enormous and guaranteed.

prh47bridge Thu 23-May-13 21:28:29

I have never said I have faith in the altruism of the charity sector. I don't have faith in altruism in the public sector either. All I have ever done here is point out the rules that charities are required to observe. Most manage to do so. Some do not.

For someone who says she deals with charity accounts for a living you have surprisingly little knowledge of how charities work. It wasn't that long ago you were wrongly stating that there was no such thing in law as a charitable company and that the Oxfam company must be something used by Oxfam for its non-exempt trading. Even recently you asked how the trustees of a charity were earning a living, apparently unaware of the fact that trustees are usually unpaid volunteers even when dealing with very large charities such as the National Trust.

Of course there are abuses in the charity sector. There are abuses in the public and private sectors too. There is no form of organisation that guarantees against abuse.

muminlondon Thu 23-May-13 21:41:23

prh47bridge average salaries are slightly higher for classroom teachers but lower for management grades for LA staff according to the school workforce statistics. I haven't read it in detail.

Talkinpeace Thu 23-May-13 21:47:05

I know that the trustees of a Charity may not take income from THAT charity. But they are allowed to do so through linked companies and that is most certainly what the Academy chains are doing.
They also abuse the director / non director disclosures.

At least the public sector run schools are forced (by P-P-Pickles) to disclose their spending.
This is NOT a requirement for Academies - both sponsored and free range.

and the lack of transparency is the most dangerous aspect of all .... same as it has been for corporate tax planning

prh47bridge Fri 24-May-13 00:18:38

muminlondon - I wasn't saying that salaries are the same but the differences are not huge at the moment. And at the high end, looking at the amounts paid to senior management of academy chains, some (but not all) LAs pay similar salaries.

Talkinpeace - No the trustees of a charity may not take income from a company linked to the charity if by that you mean a company wholly or partly owned by the charity. Apart from limited exceptions a trustee may not gain from their position. Any payments to trustees in the way of consultancy fees or to companies with which trustees are connected must be declared in the charity's accounts - the accounts of one academy chain include a payment to the Greater London Authority as that organisation employs one of their trustees. Some academy chains are paying consultancy fees to some trustees which are declared in their accounts. Some trustees are also directors of profit making companies owned by the academy chains but draw no income from those companies. Having been through the accounts of the various charities and companies involved in the large chains I believe that the most of the trustees receive no income at all from the charities, either directly or indirectly. In my experience this is the case for most charities, large and small. And most of the academy chain charities are independent, not "owned" or controlled by a profit making company.

I'm not sure what you mean by charities abusing the director/non director disclosures?

Academies are subject to Freedom of Information but I understand what you say about transparency. Personally I find the information published by many LAs in response to the Pickles requirements to be totally opaque. I wish all were as clear as your LA.

warwick1 Fri 24-May-13 11:35:05

prh47. CEO's of LA's and chain academies may be paid similar salaries but the turnover of a LA usually far exceeds that of an academy chain, even the larger ones. So how are these salaries justified?

prh47bridge Fri 24-May-13 12:48:57

I'm not saying they are, either for academy chains or for LAs. I am simply noting that some academy chains have a similar number of schools to some LAs and some LAs pay their Director in charge of education at a similar level to academy chain CEOs, particularly if you look at the overall package. Of course, the turnover for the education department of an LA will be similar to that for an academy chain with a similar number of schools.

Talkinpeace Fri 24-May-13 13:00:42

My problem with any and all Academy chains?
The lack of transparency over the spending of taxpayers funds
that affect our children on a day to day basis.
End of.

warwick1 Fri 24-May-13 15:33:38

prh47. Some interesting facts for you.

AET have their head office in Essex

AET CEO is noted in 2011/2012 accounts as having a salary of between £240,000 and £244,000.

AET has a total turnover of £341m for year

Total number of academies - 64

Essex County Council

Chief executive salary, £225,000

Executive Director of Schools. £182,968

Total expenditure £2,269m

Number of schools 610

Given that its all taxpayer money, which organisation gives the best value?

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 25-May-13 19:27:29

They took over two schools on the Isle of Wight in Sept 2011, one now in Special Measures and the other heading that way. As a parent of an extremely able child( place at med school in Sept) I am horrified at the rate of decline since they have taken over. All three of my DC went there and it was a fab school a few years ago. Very, very sad.

FAC51 Thu 30-May-13 10:39:39

The private health care for academy staff is payed for out of the academy's budget - not from AET's turnover. For a large academy this equates to the salary of up to two teachers.

prh47bridge Thu 30-May-13 14:11:12

Happened to me at O Level (showing my age!). Spent the whole year studying a set of books for English Lit before the school realised they'd misread the syllabus, so we spent three weeks before the exams reading the correct books. Pretty well everyone at my school got a lower grade than expected that year (which in my case meant I failed).

Not making a point. Just that this story stirred up an old memory.

deadsimple Thu 30-May-13 14:45:32

That's very interesting warwick. Hopefully now that the AET have had a shot fired across their bows by the DFE they will concentrate on improving the standard of education in their academies rather than empire building.

muminlondon Sat 20-Jul-13 23:00:38
EvilTwins Sun 21-Jul-13 12:24:09

Makes for uncomfortable reading.

FAC51 Tue 23-Jul-13 22:35:59

This is the tip of the iceberg.

riddlesgalore Fri 26-Jul-13 12:52:57

Well I never muminlondon:

* The Observer has just done a report on AET: *

So much for being a non profit making charity. Those members on this and other threads that maintained that the AET was a lucrative business for those employed by the AET and the board members and others who also worked as consultants for the AET were obviously on the right track. It would be interesting to know what the teachers who have been defending the AET on this thread and other threads now think.

As you say FAC51, this could just be the tip of the iceberg, no wonder the AET were so keen to expand so quickly and didn't appear to worry if they were improving the schools they took over. Looks as if they were just interested in selling their services to a captive audience.

Hopefully the government will deal with them swiftly. Is it illegal, what they have been doing? Is the government now going to rescue the academies that have been taken over by the AET?

ElfHire Thu 15-Aug-13 09:20:07

I've interpreted the Q as "will the AET make this school better?"
It depends on the interpretation of "improvement," I suspect in this case that it's with regard to pupil outcomes/attainment, the short answer is, that there is no evidence that academies/academisation improve pupil performance, this is achieved through other means.
There are other measures of school improvement such as pay, some would obviously argue that academisation improves staff salaries....

prh47bridge Thu 15-Aug-13 10:56:08

I would disagree with "no evidence". There is evidence, it just isn't anywhere near conclusive.

In the UK the evidence is currently confined to the old-style academies that took over from failing schools. Whilst the picture is not uniform with some failing to improve, the overall figures suggest that academies have improved faster than other schools in their area and are now generally outperforming those schools. Of course, in order to judge this we need a study using a control group of failing schools that didn't convert to academies to see if there is any difference in performance.

Supporters of academies also point to evidence from Sweden. Whilst some dispute the Swedish evidence it seems to be generally accepted in Sweden. However, even if we accept the Swedish evidence there must be questions as to whether it applies in the UK given significant differences between the system implemented there and the UK approach.

riddlesgalore and muminlondon

The rules governing payments to trustees or companies or individuals associated with trustees are:

- the payment must be reasonable for the services provided
- the trustees must be satisfied it is in the best interests of the charity
- the trustees involved must be in a minority, i.e. the majority of trustees must not be receiving payment nor must any payment go to companies or individuals with which they are associated

The payments recorded in the Guardian article meet the third of those points - only a minority of trustees are being paid. Without knowing the nature and extent of the services provided it is impossible to tell whether or not they meet the first point. If, for example, a trustee's company were to provide IT consultancy and was paid £20k for half a days work that would clearly be unreasonable. However if the trustee's company provided 100 days IT consultancy for £20k that would be a spectacularly good deal for the charity. The regulators have access to the information needed to tell whether or not these payments breach the rules. If they do the regulator I hope the regulators will take action and demand that the trustees concerned refund the charity.

My personal view is that charities should avoid making large payments to trustees or companies or individuals associated with trustees as, even if it is all above board and represents good value for the charity, it may lead to suggestions of impropriety. Where such payments are made I think it would be wise for the charity to give more information in their accounts to make it easier for outsiders to judge the value for money of such payments - at the moment all you get is the amount of money involved, the name of the trustee and the broad nature of the service provided.

Of course, sometimes such payments are unavoidable. One trustee of an academy charity has been "exposed" by the press for large payments made to her employer. The press failed to mention that her employer is the Greater London Authority.

None of the above is intended to say that AET is beyond reproach. There isn't enough information, either in their accounts or in the Guardian article, to judge one way or the other.

teacherwith2kids Thu 15-Aug-13 11:52:50


Similar story for one of my siblings, back in the days of O-level &CSE. Small secondary, single history set, vast majority dojng doing CSE. O-level and CSE curricula had been similar up to a couple of years previously, which meant that the teacher could teach same periods of history etc to both.

Then the two syllabi diverged ....with predictable consequences for the (tiny minority of) O-level candidates....

So such errors are not a function of academisation. Someone not quite being on the ball- yes. Caused by being an academy? No.

muminlondon Thu 15-Aug-13 20:09:34


'the overall figures suggest that academies have improved faster than other schools in their area'

I agree with ElfHire - depends what you mean by improvement.

Which figures? GCSEs including equivalents? The government considers that measure easiest to 'game' - after 2014 most equivalents will be stripped out of the league tables.

And by 'faster than other schools in their area' are you talking about a percentage improvement of that benchmark? Because schools already achieving 80% pass rate will improve those results at a lower percentage rate than schools starting from 30%. And analysis has shown academies are no better than maintained schools if compared like for like:

And then there are Ebacc and other progress measures. This analysis of 2011 results shows that 'the average for academies run by major sponsors is only a quarter of maintained mainstream schools'.

If by improvement you mean Ofsted ratings - Ofsted's dataview to 31 March shows 45% of sponsored secondary academies were less than good but only 35% of LA maintained schools. And that's after about 1200 mostly 'good/outstanding' schools converted to non-sponsored academies.

muminlondon Thu 15-Aug-13 20:54:00

Chris Cook compared the chains in his 7 January 2013 FT blog. On his 'adjusted' index taking into account ethnicity, deprivation and special needs, Ark did better than Harris in 2012 GCSE resukts and much better than AET, but Westminster council performed better than Ark.

I still see no proof that academy chains are more effective than LAs. And several free schools have received support from LA advisers too according to Ofsted - Batley Grammar, Kings Science, Maharishi.

There's a list of sponsored academies here but still no 'academy sponsor' field in the performance tables that would enable you to compare the performance of chains easily.

prh47bridge Thu 15-Aug-13 22:18:47

Like I said, the evidence is inconclusive. Supporters of academies can claim academies are doing better than other schools, opponents can claim they are not. Both can quote evidence that appears to support their view. I simplified somewhat to stop my post becoming overly long but did not come down on either side of the debate.

muminlondon Thu 15-Aug-13 23:28:49

'Supporters of academies can claim academies are doing better than other schools, opponents can claim they are not'

The 'supporters' are Conservative politicians (or David Laws) who are pushing an agenda and cherry-picking evidence, or political donors who run academy chains, none of whom are likely to be sending their own children to a state school let alone a sponsored academy.

'Opponents' include parents who have no other choice and are angry that their own views are being ignored. Like the 99% at Camden junior school in Sutton and many other schools unhappy with the academy chain sponsor being imposed on their school.

prh47bridge Fri 16-Aug-13 02:12:05

That is simply not true. There are many supporters in the Blairite wing of the Labour party for a start. Supporters also include parents and teachers who are happy with the way their school has turned out after conversion. Opponents include some Conservative politicians.

Wonderstuff Fri 16-Aug-13 02:41:39

I work for AET. I think Triggs presents himself well, my BS o meter deems him to be a good bloke. He stated in the meeting (which was pre falling out with Gove) that he didn't want too expand too rapidly and risk being no better than an LEA. I haven't noticed much change since becoming an academy 2 years ago. Negative changes like reduced CAMHS staffing are related to austerity generally and not AET.

muminlondon Fri 16-Aug-13 07:17:42

'There are many supporters in the Blairite wing'

True but they are unlikely to send their children to sponsored academies either. I think there are Conservative oponents of forced academisation, and those who like standalone academies but not chains. But also Conservative council leaders angry with being bullied by academy brokers.

Mossbourne Academy is undeniably successful - not all academies are the same. Free schools too are a mixture of sponsored academies, ex-privates and religious schools under the same policy but parent-led schools (on which the policy was sold to the public) are a minority. It's their tactic to muddle the debate.

But you can't deny forced academisation is unpopular and undemocratic. The government is pushing an agenda, to break up LAs, reduce the power of the unions and bring in privatisation. Even David Triggs - who is at least an ex-head rather than a carpet salesman - has suggested they expanded because the government encouraged it. But Gove is ready to blame individual companies where his policy is flawed and will never be accountable when it goes wrong.

muminlondon Fri 16-Aug-13 12:04:15

In terms of the sponsored academies judged inadequate, AET has a bigger proportion in this category than any other chain.

Below average (e.g. cf. 65% LA maintained schools good or outstanding):

AET: 12 inspected = 1 outstanding, 3 good, 4 'need improvement', 4 inadequate.
E-ACT: 12 inspected = 2 outstanding, 2 good, 6 'need improvement', 2 inadequate
Oasis: 11 inspected = 0 outstanding, 5 good, 5 'need improvement', 1 inadequate

Above average:

Ark: 8 inspected = 3 outstanding, 4 good, 1 'needs improvement', but none inadequate.
Harris: 9 inspected = 8 outstanding, 1 good
Ormiston: 15 inspected = 7 outstanding, 5 good, 3 'need improvement'
United Learning: 18 inspected = 3 outstanding, 11 good, 3 'need improvement', 1 inadequate

On the other hand I don't know how much weight parents should place on Ofsted reports. There was a really strange story in Private Eye about the CEO of Harris working as a schools inspector in order to visit a competing school in London. Conflict of interest?

muminlondon Fri 16-Aug-13 12:48:30

Another measure that would interest parents are Ebacc results for high attainers - or even just the opportunity to be entered for Ebacc (46.3% of high attainers = national average).

It is hard for any school to offer the full range of subjects if the intake is skewed to low attainers. But some academy chains (Harris) have been accused of pushing bright children into inappropriate GCSE choices to bump up their 5 A-C results.

Here are the 2012 figures for schools in which more than 30% of previously high attaining pupils were entered for Ebacc, approximately in order:

United Learning - 9 out of 19 schools
Ormiston - 5 out of 13
E-Act - 4 out of 12
AET - 4 out of 14
Harris - 2 out of 9
Ark - 1 out of 5
Oasis - 1 out of 12

In most chains about a third of their schools didn't enter high attainers for Ebacc range of subjects in 2012.

warwick1 Fri 16-Aug-13 13:33:44

prh47bridge, trustees and directors awarding themselves contracts for AET work maybe be legal but is it moral. After all these trustees are responsible for strategies and oversee policies, directors are responsible for operations. How can trustees who have decided on a rapid expansion strategy, have a policy that all newly acquired academies undertake audits on finance, HR, IT and curriculum and then allow themselves or fellow trustees to be awarded those contracts (audits, reviews, project management and implementation) or approve awarding them to 'off payrol' staff and ex staff who have become consultants, without first going to tender. Why also aren't the full details of the work undertaken made public, why is it a secret? Austerity can't be blamed for academies losing staff after these audits, new academies lost staff way before austerity measures were introduced. Changes have to be paid for somehow, and some new academy staff benefit from much higher salaries which also have to be funded. Obviously the trustees are staying within the rules by rotating who benefits on a yearly basis, but some are also well prepared to benefit from their position by setting up separate companies to receive payment, presumably good for tax purposes. Are these people good role models for the youngsters they have responsibility for, after all educationalists like to take the moral high ground maybe its time they lived up to it.

I'm sure wonderstuff that Mr Triggs is a wonderful man who presents himself well. As CEO of the AET, selling the AET as a brand would be his main role, his £200,000+ salary would be a great encouragement to do his best better as the AET logo says. Mr Triggs is also the principal of Greensward Academy, the lead AET sponsor academy. This is the academy that all academies taken on by the AET are expected to aspire to emulate, yet this academy has only managed to achieve a 'good' Ofsted rating for its teaching and learning. Greensward also boasts that it achieved 72% A*-C inc E&M, yet when the reforms to equivalents are applied this drops to 56%. It would appear that Greensward's perceived success rests on using equivalents. As muminlondon comments, The government considers that measure easiest to 'game' - after 2014 most equivalents will be stripped out of the league tables. This until Gove's reforms in 2012, appears to have been the AET's strategy for improving results in their newly acquired academies, introduce more equivalents. 2014 GCSE results will be interesting.

muminlondon Fri 16-Aug-13 13:47:32

So the only outstanding school operated by AET was inspected 2.5 years ago and would be downgraded under the current Ofsted framework because you need to gain outstanding in 'achievement' and 'teaching' for the overall grade.

That is poor.

prh47bridge Fri 16-Aug-13 14:09:58

muminlondon - We had forced conversions under the last government as well but they weren't so aggressive about it. I have said previously that I am not a fan of the way this is being done.

warwick1 - The trustees do not seem to be rotating who benefits. I've looked through AET's accounts for a number of years and it seems to be the same few trustees benefitting consistently. As I've already said, the problem is that we only have the broadest indication of the nature of the services provided and no indication whatsoever of the extent.

I myself do some paid work for a charity (I am not a trustee of the charity concerned). I could not justify the time I spend working for them if it was completely unpaid but, because I support them, I charge around half my normal rate for this work. Because I'm working for them I have to turn away other better paid work so I am in effect making a loss on the deal.

My point is that we don't know whether the trustees are doing what I do, i.e. supporting the charity by getting their companies to do things for them at a reduced rate, or being paid the full market rate (or higher) for this work.

You could, of course, try a Freedom of Information request to find out more.

warwick1 Fri 16-Aug-13 15:32:15

Apparently prh47bridge, even under FOI, these academy chains are not 'required' to give this information. It is my understanding that even senior staff who work in these academies are unaware of the exact costs and scope of work undertaken for these payments. The DFE doesn't appear able to divulge the information, although I'm not sure they actually collect this data anyway. Without the information its impossible to tell whether its good value for money or not. I would assume though if its good value the AET and other chains would be happy to share the information in order to defend themselves and their trustees etc. Instead, the AET have apparently contracted a public relations company to defend them, why?

muminlondon Fri 16-Aug-13 15:35:49

prh47bridge but the difference under Labour and under the Coalition is that pre-2010 academies came with a lot of investment, very few were primaries. At the same time there was a big school improvement drive for other schools which has been proved to be more effective than academisation, which Gove ignores.

Since 2010, the Academies Act presumes all new schools to be academies and more importantly the Ofsted regime is linked with floor targets and forced academisation. It's far more nakedly ideological as a policy and is not evidence-based.

All the sponsored academies in my area were set up under Labour although opened later. They were in one sense 'forced' to become academies to access capital funding. There was a local consultation before a council vote was taken (although the response was admittedly poor) which you do NOT get under the coalition.

In comparison, one community school (now converter) has made the journey from special measures to outstanding on its own - under the present policy it would have been forced. While improvement takes time its results are way above average, it is oversubscribed, and none of the sponsored academies have made similar progress in the same period. The AET school has improved its GCSE results but not to the same level and its Ebacc results are no better than when it took over. They are all undersubscribed.

The successful community school has not received the same investment but has had a great head. New forced academies will not even get a new building and in the current hostile Ofsted regime the job of a head is very stressful. One third in my area have retired or moved to new schools this year.

muminlondon Fri 16-Aug-13 15:47:24

'its Ebacc results are no better than when it took over' - AET school

Its 2012 results compared with 2010 and 2011 that is. I really do hope they improve this year because for many it is the only non-faith option.

warwick1 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:52:51

Latest update on the Academies Enterprise Trust is that according to the AET.

“David Triggs will be stepping down from his role as Chief Executive Officer of Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) from September this year. The AET Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Comfort, currently Group Secretary and General Counsel, as Interim CEO.”

This is following a period of specific criticism as seen in links below:

and general criticism of chain academy group practices:

The Education Funding Agency is currently carrying out a review of some aspects of financial management and governance as part of a wider review of the AET. When finalised this report is due to be published. Mr Gove and the DFE have insisted that they will take action to hold the AET to account for any underperformance and ensure that they make the necessary improvements.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:38:06

LEA schools - because their bills are paid by LEAs - have to publish the details of every payment over £500 : rules set up by Mr Pickles

Academy chain schools are allowed to present statutory consolidated group accounts to the public : rules set up by Mr Gove

no wonder schools are happy to convert or jump into bed with Academy chains - all public oversight of their spending is eradicated the day after they leave the LEA

EvilTwins Thu 05-Sep-13 19:34:30

Talkin - I don't think it's fair or true to say that schools are "happy to jump into bed with academy chains" - it's pretty much a no choice scenario for a great many - including the one I teach at. It was a case of accept this or close down.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 19:53:45

I know, I was over simplifying, but by golly some heads must be happy that they can bounce the governors into buying them new furniture and training trips without any public scrutiny

EvilTwins Thu 05-Sep-13 20:28:07

They still don't have the money... Whether or not it's there for public scrutiny.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 20:39:56

I would love to think so, but fresh furniture in the SMT suite and 200 monogrammed chairs for the school hall make me wonder what is being cut instead ....

EvilTwins Thu 05-Sep-13 20:52:58

Hmm. An SMT suite? Monogrammed chairs? I suspect this school is not typical of your average state secondary...

muminlondon Fri 06-Sep-13 08:11:41

I think AET must be worried because they did not publish any information about Ebacc results and appear to have done worse than Harris or ARK on GCSEs. Not meaningful without contextual data on intake, pupil numbers, etc. and may be skewed by the selective school operated by Harris, etc.

But when full results are published there will be a big divide in Ebacc results. Labour intended the sponsored academies to banish the image of sink schools and have a more balanced intake, but Gove's policies have meant increased segregation. I almost feel sorry for AET. The Ebacc rate for our local AET school was less than a third that of the converter academies. It won't help recruitment.

EvilTwins Fri 06-Sep-13 16:48:24

muminlondon Ebacc figures haven't been released yet. Do you mean figures for 5A*-C inc English & Maths? Again, nothing official has been published as yet. We don't even know what schools close to ours got, unless through word of mouth from colleagues. AET certainly haven't produced anything. Too early.

muminlondon Fri 06-Sep-13 19:06:00

It's early and very provisional but have a look at these press releases

Harris: 13 academies
71% GCSEs 5 A*-C inc E&M (60% excl equivalents)
18% Ebacc

ARK: 8 academies
56% 5 A*-C inc E&M
17% Ebacc

AET: 24 academies
52% 5 A*-C inc E&M

As I said, no contextual data. But our local council published a full list of provisional GCSE results and Ebacc results on their website and as I mentioned, the AET school's Ebacc pass rate was 13% while the borough average was 40% (all comprehensives).

muminlondon Fri 06-Sep-13 19:14:14

Schools face so hurdles and targets now that results are increasingly meaningless. There was a report on the BBC website about BTEC Science. I actually don't think AET played many tricks in this respect but other chains may have done.

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 19:20:50

TBH I suspect that the Ebacc in most schools will have risen significantly (at DCs school its up to 40% from 36% last year) as this is the first cohort of pupils who selected their GCSEs with knowledge of the Ebacc

there is no obligation at all on any school to publish its results - two near here are holding back because of remarks that may affect critical percentages - until the Dfe does in the new year

I suspect Academy chains are going to be under extreme pressure to show VFM

PS eviltwins I did not realise that an SMT suite was unusual - seems quite sensible in a big campus style comp - the new furniture, replacing stuff only four years old is my issue and the chairs are sad/funny

EvilTwins Fri 06-Sep-13 19:30:20

As a teacher at an AET academy, I can say that our results this year, which are a slight improvement on last year, with significant improvements in certain subjects, are bugger all to do with AET running the school and everything to do with the teaching staff at the school. The academy chain has very little involvement in the day to day running of the school. We were taken over by AET 18 months (ish) ago. There is absolutely no difference between my results before then and my results now. All this talk of academy chains having a negative effect is pointless unless someone wants to compare results from before a school was taken over with those now. I know for a fact that the vast improvements in results at my school over the last 6 years is entirely down to the increase in the quality of teaching. AET has nothing to do with that.

muminlondon Fri 06-Sep-13 20:02:33

EvilTwins I believe that AET doesn't interfere in the running of the school as much as other chains. I don't actually think chains make much of a difference if the intake is as imbalanced in an LA as it always was. I think that Gove is deliberately sabotaging the Labour academies by setting up a new tier of higher performing converter academies which now entrench any advantage they always had in catchment areas and admissions but LAs can't change that. Where it's expedient, he confuses sponsored and converter academies. Where they work, he claims credit. Where they don't, he will blame Labour. But he is segmenting the system to the point of no return.

I'm guilty of highlighting differences here but that's one of the insidious effects of league tables and all this information being published online.

warwick1 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:10:42

If the AET aren't having any effect on the performance of your school eviltwins' the question to be asked is what are you actually paying for. What is your school gaining out of the deal, I think we are all aware now what the directors and trustees of the AET are gaining aren't we?

I agree muminlondon that the older academies are still struggling to up their performance, but that isn't because the AET hasn't interfered in their running, in fact most it seems have at least one if not two or more AET sponsored head teachers imposed on them and likewise they have had AET appointed governors imposed. Maybe that is the problem, maybe they would have fared better without these enforced changes, maybe all they needed was an injection of direct funding.

EvilTwins Tue 10-Sep-13 17:48:21

I don't know, Warwick. What I do know is that practically all the secondaries in my area are academies, and when my school came out of SM, we were told that we had to become one to "secure the future" of the school. It's all a pile of pants if you ask me. Their CPD provision is way better than the LA's was, and they do have a charitable trust schools can apply to for funding for special projects. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I do know that the increase in results is due to the hard work of the staff and consistently high standards of expectation that the students have risen to.

warwick1 Wed 11-Sep-13 10:58:26

Out of interest eviltwins. When your school became an AET sponsored academy did you get a new head teacher and chair of governors. Have you got an AET regional director/principal who supports the school? Also has your IT and facilities management been handed over to a direct labour organisation and was procurement given over to a procurement consortium. If so, under whose recommendation.

EvilTwins Wed 11-Sep-13 23:32:05

Warwick, I can't answer the majority of that. No new head. Yes to new governors, but we'd had an IEB whilst in SM so that would have happened anyway. No idea about the rest - as I say, the impact on me as a classroom teacher has been minimal.

warwick1 Sat 09-Nov-13 11:30:10

Academies Enterprise trust has received warning letters from DFE re the performance of some of their academies. Is the DFE finally getting to grips with chain sponsors who have been letting their students and parents down over many years. Should academy chains such as the AET be subjected to Ofsted inspections in the same way that LA's are, would their failings have been spotted earlier saving many hundreds of students from suffering a poor education.

straggle Fri 31-Jan-14 23:47:59

AET is advertising for a commercial partner in a joint venture to procure all non-teaching staff and services, in which it will have a majority stake. It gives headteachers much less autonomy than in maintained schools and could be profit-making. See:

warwick1 Tue 25-Feb-14 10:26:05

Now that e-act have had 10 academies removed from their control, maybe the DFE will finally tackle the largest chain (AET).

EvilTwins Thu 27-Feb-14 21:15:52

Warwick - you keep coming back to this thread. What's your issue with AET?

warwick1 Fri 28-Feb-14 11:03:11

Eviltwins - I think that given their poor educational performance, the fact that the DFE have been critical of them awarding service and project contracts to their own directors, trust members and other staff and the manner in which they now appear to be trying to take even more control way from academy head teachers, that is self explanatory. Academy chains need to be Ofsted inspected in order to encourage transparency and accountability. I could ask why you defend them, but will not as that is your right.

EvilTwins Fri 28-Feb-14 17:47:59

It's just that I haven't seen you getting up in arms about E-Act, Harris, Oasis or any of the other chains.

I "defend" then because I work in one of their academies. Not by choice, I suppose, because I worked at the school before it was taken over by AET. Please remember that all schools live and die by reputation. Not all AET academies are academically poor and dubiously managed. Constant criticism, where it is not necessarily warranted, can cause damage. My school is doing very well now, and as I have said before on this thread, I have seen nothing detrimental since AET came in. They are more up-front about changes than the LA ever were.

warwick1 Sat 01-Mar-14 10:30:55

Eviltwins - I get the impression that nothing has changed at your school since the AET took over, the question then is why did they become involved if your academy is only just another source of revenue for them. I criticise AET mainly because it is on record that they have awarded contracts to suppliers connected to individuals who are past and present employees, directors or trust members. This practise although legal is in the eyes of many unsavoury, particularly as the end result isn't any noticeable increase in performance over that achieved by other schools/academies not run by chains. I don't think the intention of state education is wealth making for individuals. I'm sure that you wouldn't maintain that management and staff at your school weren't capable of achieving the same result without AET input as converter academies have proved.

warwick1 Mon 10-Mar-14 19:07:38

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