Poor school results don't justify huge academy trust salaries

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Sir Michael Wilshaw has highlighted serious weaknesses at seven multi-academy trusts in a hard-hitting letter to the education secretary, reports the BBC.

Sir Michael said the trusts were sitting on millions of pounds that should be used to raise standards. In the letter to Nicky Morgan, Sir Michael said problems at these multi-academy trusts often replicated those of the worst local councils, and were leading to poor results for too many pupils, particularly disadvantaged ones.

He said: “Given these worrying findings about the performance of disadvantaged pupils and the lack of leadership capacity and strategic oversight by trustees, salary levels for the chief executives of some of these MATs do not appear to be commensurate with the level of performance of their trusts or constituent academies.

“The average pay of the chief executives in these seven trusts is higher than the prime minister’s salary, with one chief executive’s salary reaching £225,000.

“This poor use of public money is compounded by some trusts holding very large cash reserves that are not being spent on raising standards.

“For example, at the end of August 2015, these seven trusts had total cash in the bank of £111m.

“Furthermore, some of these trusts are spending money on expensive consultants or advisers to compensate for deficits in leadership. Put together, these seven trusts spent at least £8.5m on education consultancy in 2014-15 alone.”

The Department for Education said: “This report is focused on seven chains that Ofsted has identified as causing them the most concern. It is a partial and skewed picture and no reflection on the success of the multi-academy trust model as a whole."

A proposed national funding formula for schools, which would be introduced next year, would see budgets going straight to schools, removing local authorities from being a channel for funding, so reducing the financial link between local authorities and schools.

The seven multi-academy trusts are: School Partnership Trust Academies, E-Act, AET, The Education Fellowship, Wakefield City Academies, CfBT Multi-Academy Trust, Collaborative Academies Trust and Oasis Learning Multi-Academy Trust. The run several hundreds schools in England between them.

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