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,
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