Panorama on Academy Trusts - shocking

(36 Posts)
Ahmawa Mon 25-Mar-19 23:30:47

Did anyone watch Panorama today on the shocking financial irregularities and fraud at two Academy trusts?

Even after the Government was informed by whistle blowers as it was a flagship policy they simply sweeped it under the rug and bailed out one of the Academies.

Does anyone think Academies are just an idiotic idea and scam for some people to make a fast buck?

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Mon 25-Mar-19 23:42:53

Does anyone think Academies are just an idiotic idea


I haven't seen the programme, but might now pick it up on Catch Up.

ColeHawlins Mon 25-Mar-19 23:44:55

They were deliberately set up to free of LA oversight, so it seems to me that corruption, bad practice, dodgy fiefdoms etc were inevitable from the start. I'm only surprised that anyone's surprised.

Ahmawa Mon 25-Mar-19 23:50:07

Are you saying that for all Academies? I get concerned that when you have these Multi Trusts then are they not simply creating extra layers of management that are not needed?

OP’s posts: |
ColeHawlins Tue 26-Mar-19 00:03:08

Yes, I'm suspicious of the scope for things to go wrong in any academy. It makes sense that multi-academy trusts would get into worse trouble than a single academy, though.

SadSackStruggling Tue 26-Mar-19 00:12:05

There are a lot of people working in education that aren't happy about the way things are heading and academies are a big part of that.
Of course, a lot of us are working in academies now.
Grammars, Academies and free schools.
Stinks of privatisation really but the feet in the group have little in the way of power.

Schools HAVE to be ran as a business and thanks to the woefull funding the only way many see to survive is either to become an academy or to join a multi academy trust.

Ahmawa Tue 26-Mar-19 10:05:15

So do Academies get more funding than state schools?

How is it being run in an Academy then is better for your finances?

OP’s posts: |


richmondmama Tue 26-Mar-19 14:03:18

Schools should NOT be run as businesses! They are a public service, funded by the government. The Academies programme has been pushed forward to introduce "market forces" into the education system. Fraud, corruption and massively inflated salaries for senior managers are the inevitable result. Just look at the recent stories about highly-paid principals claiming their schools can't afford to hire cleaning staff, while others are so wealthy they can afford F&B paint and fancy candles.
I despair!

admission Tue 26-Mar-19 20:57:38

The principle of academies as stand alone centres of education does mean that the school(s) need to be carrying a cash surplus at all times for cash flow, just like any business. So in that context academies and MATs are like a business, get the finances wrong and you are in trouble.

The other thing that is never admitted is that for every Academy in trouble there is also a school that is a maintained school which is in every bit as much trouble. It just does not receive the publicity of schools which are academies.

Having said that, some of the alleged incidents in the two MATs the Panorama program focused on were really bad. Employing relatives is always a difficult area and the Chief Exec seems to have gone way past the acceptable line if the allegations are correct. The other MAT is working in a very difficult area of education, that of special needs. The Trust is in serious financial trouble and the background to that is long and complicated. In short they seem not to have understood there was not a bottomless pit of money. For the MAT to now get back to running a financially viable operation is going to be very difficult and will mean real changes and hardships in the schools, which is obviously happening. The question for me is whether the senior managers of the MAT are also taking their dose of bad medicine or just continuing on as though nothing is wrong.

prh47bridge Tue 26-Mar-19 23:32:50

Schools should NOT be run as businesses!

Academies are not businesses. They are charities.

LondonGirl83 Wed 27-Mar-19 06:25:16

Academies do not get more money per pupil than LA schools.

You can check the legislation, which is very clear on how the financial arrangements work.

Decormad38 Wed 27-Mar-19 06:32:02

Thankfully my daughters outstanding secondary school has managed to stay out of the clutches of these academies. As parents I would rather contribute some money than let that happen!

littlebillie Wed 27-Mar-19 06:47:15

Most schools where we live are academics and one or two are beacon schools.

The model that our Trust has is to perform to an outstanding level and then bring in failing schools. So far that seems to have worked for them.

LondonGirl83 Wed 27-Mar-19 08:22:20

The 3 best performing primaries (total results / value add scores including for disadvantaged pupils) are academies where we live. One converted itself for more independence from the LA (it was already Ofsted outstanding and performing well), one was founded by parents and the other is part of a chain. There are also a number of very good LA primaries but all the worst performing primary schools in my neighbourhood are LA run.

I think there are good academies and bad ones and good LA schools and bad ones. Bad academies should be shut down but we also shouldn't paint all academies with the same brush.

CherryPavlova Wed 27-Mar-19 08:38:36

There are some very good academy trusts out there that have transformed schools that local authorities have continued to allow to fail for years. Local authorities are massive bureaucratic and have often turned a blind eye.
The majority get the same funding as maintained schools - although special schools are much more generously funded. Different areas get different per capita funding so London schools get more than Hastings to Lowestoft schools (despite Hastings and Lowestoft being a greater challenge, in many ways).
They are not businesses and all accounts are submitted to the Charities Commission.
There is also significant oversight by regional schools commissioners and, of course, Ofsted.
It’s not quite as portrayed by the programme.
For many schools being with a MAT has seen increase investment and better resources.
For many children in ‘sink schools’ academisation has afforded them improved opportunities and better life chances.
Entirely depends on the trust.

wonkylegs Wed 27-Mar-19 10:46:13

Rather than tackle some systemic problems within the system, the notion of academies and MAT were created to 'change everything'
Except they haven't really - there are problems that have been rebadged and some new problems that are new fall out from the changes but what really has changed is the accountability and it seems that some (not all but some always spoil it for the rest) people are taking advantage of this and the government doesn't actually give a toss about this and is pretending if they just ignore it, it will go away.
The current lack of the government actually giving a real toss about properly educating our kids is seriously upsetting and is driving talented people out of the profession out of serious frustration and replacing them with managers who are obsessed with league tables /core exam results or just not replacing them at all. It's narrowing our kids prospects for the future, rather than broadening their horizons and makes me truly angry.

wonkylegs Wed 27-Mar-19 10:48:57

I do acknowledge there are some MATs that have done a good job and transformed some schools but I'm not convinced that this couldn't have been tackled and achieved in a different way that didn't create the other issues.

euaremissed Thu 28-Mar-19 13:14:36

I am so grateful my children's school has not been academised.

Why would any teacher want to work for an academy?

Schools are not businesses so why should they be used as a vehicle to pay extortionate salaries to a top layer of management.

I am watching the documentary - shocking stuff.

prh47bridge Thu 28-Mar-19 14:11:46

Why would any teacher want to work for an academy

Why wouldn't they?

Schools are not businesses so why should they be used as a vehicle to pay extortionate salaries to a top layer of management

No, they are not businesses which is why academies are charities, although evidence from some other countries is that they might provide better value for taxpayers and for children if they were businesses (i.e. lower costs for taxpayers delivering a better education for children). The alternative, of course, is that they are used as a vehicle to pay extortionate salaries to a top layer of management working for the LA.

CherryPavlova Thu 28-Mar-19 15:38:44

Why teach in a MAT school? All sorts of reasons from the negative of not being in a position to move schools to the really positive of better career opportunities and a commitment to the MAT ‘growing their own’. Possibly a shared belief in the work of the trust or liking the better resources they provide for children.
Lots of reasons.

schoolsoutnow Thu 28-Mar-19 20:45:08

Re the last two poster... are you both teachers at academies?

schoolsoutnow Thu 28-Mar-19 20:48:15

I would like to hear from some teachers at academies.

The panorama documentary is shocking.

Shocking stuff.

Again I don't know why teachers would work for an academy.

TulipsTulipsTulips Thu 28-Mar-19 20:48:59

Why do teachers hate academies so much? Is it a left-wing / political objection or is there another reason?

schoolsoutnow Thu 28-Mar-19 20:49:15

cherrypavlova why would an academy have better resources that your typical state school?

ivykaty44 Thu 28-Mar-19 20:50:21

I'm only surprised that anyone's surprised. this

How is an academy better off financially- for starters they don’t pay council tax

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