‘Millions wasted’ on academies scheme

A £1 billion overspend on the academies programme has resulted in funding for under-performing schools being slashed. Teachers’ leaders described the overspend as ‘appalling’.

A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) reveals that the Coalition spent £8.3 billion on the academies programme between 2010 and 2012, and £1 billion of this was over budget, The Independent reports.

As a result, £350 million has been cut from other education services including:

  • £95 million from the school improvement programme
  • £100 million from under-performing schools.
  • £100 million from 16-19 year-olds to stay on at school

The Public Accounts Committee describes a system riddled with overspends and errors, but subject to little oversight. Part of the overspend was due to the increase in the number of academies – from about 200 in 2010 to more than 2,886 two years later – and the number of central staff overseeing their finance doubling.

NAO head Amyas Morse said: “A tenfold increase in the number of academies since May 2010 is a significant achievement. However, the department wasn’t sufficiently prepared for the financial implications of such a rapid expansion or for the challenge of overseeing and monitoring such a large number of academies.”

Martin Johnson, ATL’s deputy general secretary, commented: “We are appalled by the gung-ho attitude of ministers to ensuring value for money for children, parents, schools and tax-payers; they don’t know whether the academies programme is value-for-money and have no plans to find out.”

A DfE spokesman defended the overspend: “We make no apology for the fact that more schools than even we had imagined have opted to convert [to academies], and no apology for spending money on a programme that is proven to drive up standards and make long-term school improvements.”

Does the success of the academies programme justify the overspend? Has your school suffered because of cuts to other education services?

2 thoughts on “‘Millions wasted’ on academies scheme

  1. Has the move to a greater number of schools attaining academy status been achieved because no new school builds are allowed unless academy status acquired?

  2. Well, well, well, now whose fault is this. Overspend on the academies, it has to be the teachers’ fault like it is the nurses who are to blame for the failure of the NHS – ha ha ha.

    It could never possibly be Gove’s fault for introducing all these academies, now they have over spent, let’s sack some more teachers shall we, (after all it is their fault). Did you give them loads of sweeteners to become academies in the first place, perhaps that is where the money went. Could the money have been spent on the Headteachers of the academies, bribing them to get rid of staff – surely you must have saved yourselves some money from all the teachers you have sacked from these academies?? No, well where has the money gone then – some little rich boys’ back pockets, more cherry pickers! You make us sick, that is our money the tax payers money you are spending on making yourselves rich, through your academies and privatising the NHS – Tories do not become rich by working hard – they become rich by stealing from everyone else! Historys always repeats itself.

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