Parent ‘fobbed off’ after raising concerns about SchoolsCompany Trust PRU

Janet Downs's picture
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A parent who raised concerns about her daughter's education at a Devon-based pupil referral unit (PRU) was ‘fobbed off’, a BBC investigation* has found.

SchoolsCompany Trust ran three PRUs and one Kent academy.  It was stripped of all four schools in 2018 leaving the Department for Education with a bad debt of at least £3m, maybe more 

The police are to look into finances at the defunct academy trust, Schools Week reports.

Concerns uncovered by the BBC including ‘lack of safeguarding’, a ‘chaotic’ regime and pupils causing ‘havoc’ by running ‘amok’ in the neighbourhood.

The lack of resources for the classroom wasn’t reflected in the remuneration for the trust’s CEO Elias Achilleos.  His pay in the 2016/17 academic year was £105k and £110k plus pension contributions.

Devon County Council paid up to £58k per pupil for a year.  Yet many of the pupils were educated on other sites which were potentially unsafe and illegal.

Despite being stripped of its academies, SchoolsCompany Limited, a company linked to SchoolsCompany Trust, was still listing its PRUs and the Kent school, Goodwin Academy, on its website in late January.   The website was no longer available this morning – it had ‘expired’.

EXTRA: In 2011, Elias Achilleos, SchoolsCompany Trust’s CEO, was named as ‘education delivery partner’ for the proposed Newham Free Academy.  The school was to be run on the ‘no excuses’ model.  The plan foundered after too few parents expressed interest.  Elias Achilleos was also behind a plan to establish a construction academy in Nigeria.  This, too, appears to have failed. 

UPDATE 13.30:  SchoolsCompany still has another website which doesn't list its lost academies but says it's a 'specialist educational consultancy, training and school management company.   Thanks to Mark Watson whose 'lucky guess' found it.

*BBC Inside Out West, available here for 29 days from 3 February (9 minutes in).  A BBC report is here.

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