E-Act, Not an advertisement for academisation

Jane Eades's picture

The academy chain E-Act, previously know as EduTrust, is a very poor advertisement for the academies policy. Here are some reasons why.

Problems from the beginning    Edutrust signed its funding agreement in 2008, changing its name to E-Act after financial irregularities were exposed in 2009 and the consequent resignation of the initial Chairman, Lord Bhatia. 

Further financial mismanagement  In 2011 the chain was criticised for the excessive salary being paid to Bruce Liddington, the Chairman, who resigned in 2013 amid further accusations of financial “mismanagement” and a financial notice to improve.  In 2014 the Trust were reported for breaches of the Charity Commission code and it was accused of extravagant expenses. 

Poor academic performance  In 2013 the exam results for E-Act academies overall fell below floor targets and in February 2014 the chain was ordered to hand back 10 “failing” academies to be given to other academy trusts.

Current schools   E-Act currently run 23 academies.  21 replaced 24 other schools and 2 are new schools.

 Of the schools E-Act currently run, and where it has been possible to find the Ofsted grading of the predecessor school,

  •  6 have better Ofsted ratings,
  •  8 have got worse and
  •  6 have the same grade.

 Overall, the average grading is the same.  Only one, Heartlands Academy, is rated as outstanding and that had achieved its outstanding status before it became an academy. The major problem does not seem to be with the individual schools but with the overall continued poor management of the Trust.  Given this poor overall performance and the concerns over the central financial mismanagement which have been reported more than once, it does not seem sensible to take away local and parental involvement.   In fact, it would seem much more sensible to increase the local oversight of the schools and give more power to the parents and governing bodies, not less, and to improve communications within the Trust.

A list of the schools, their Ofsted gradings compared to the predecessor school, and links to the evidence can be downloaded here

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Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 24/01/2016 - 08:46

Those academies which were previously run by E-Act eg Trent Valley Academy (now The Gainsborough Academy), Leeds West, Leeds East, The Winsford Academy, Forest E-Act (now The Forest High School) have moved to other sponsors.  There will have been legal and administrative costs associated with the change as well as any grants  the DfE may have paid to the incoming sponsor.  

The DfE refused to say how much it cost to transfer 23 academies (which included a few E-Act academies) which changed hands between September 2013 and October 2014.  But a Tribunal has ruled the figures must be revealed and the DfE have 30 days from 31 December 2015 to do so.  

In the light of the Court's ruling I've submitted a FoI request for the DfE to reveal the transfer costs of academies changing hands up to August 2015.

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