Former advisor to Gove calls for abolition of academies

3 Sep 19

The introduction of academy schools has “fragmented” the education system and they should be abolished, an education think-tank has urged.

It is not possible to judge schools’ performance on a “level playing field” currently, according to a report by EDSK, produced by a former advisor to Michael Gove when he was education secretary, Tom Richmond.

This is because maintained schools, academies and those in multi-academy trusts are all treated as different legal entities.

EDSK called for a ‘State Schools System Act 2020’, which would require state schools to have a consistent set of rules, as well as a governing body that delivers a set of core functions and responsibilities.

Tom Richmond, author the report, said that England now has two sets of state schools in local authority maintained schools and academies – which are outside of local government control.

“Inevitably, this has produced a fragmented and incoherent education system, with little sign of improvement on either front,” Richmond said.

He called for a “unified system” which would increase transparency around how taxpayers’ money is spent and pointed to high salaries for chief executives in multi-academy trusts.

The report said: “Numerous examples of exorbitant pay for chief executives and senior leaders in multi-academy trusts (MATs) have undoubtedly harmed the reputation of the academies programme.

“Academies are supposed to follow a “robust evidence-based process” for determining executive pay, but this has evidently not occurred on a number of occasions despite the DfE complaining to many academies about their pay awards.”

One of the recommendations in the report was for state schools to publish – alongside their annual accounts – the names and pay for any individual earning over £60,000.

The report concluded: “The conversations around how to organise and deliver state education are frequently conducted in an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion – particularly in relation to academies and the trusts that typically run them.

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