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The News Line: Editorial Academy head earns £500,000 while over half of multi-academy chains are going bust THE TORY policy of forcing every school in England to become academies and turn the entire education system into a profit-making business has created a massive crisis that threatens to bankrupt schools throughout the country.

This is clear following recent investigations into the finances of the dominant multi-academy chains (MATs) that have been systematically swallowing up large numbers of schools.

It was found that over half of the largest MATs had been forced to issue funding warnings while a number of smaller trusts have been forced to beg money from the state just to survive.
The investigation by the Observer newspaper highlighted the crisis engulfing these MATs including that of the Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) which runs 21 schools in Birmingham and which admitted in its annual accounts for 2016-17 that it was having to ask the government to advance it money in order to keep the trust going this year.

An addition to the accounts by the academy auditor spelt the situation out quite clearly stating: ‘A material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the trust’s ability to continue as a going concern.’
The same story is repeated across the board with the country’s largest academy chain, the Academies Enterprise Trust, which runs 66 schools, reporting that 17 of these schools had run out of money and that the deficits were increasing in 14 of them.

They said in their accounts, ‘The sector faces uncertainty over the levels of future finances.’
That is putting it mildly! These chains, enticed by the prospect of making profit out of education, are now squealing for more money from the taxpayer, some of which will be used to pay the inflated salaries of their chief executives.

This week it was revealed that Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, which runs 44 schools with 32,000 pupils, became the first in the state sector to earn £500,000 a year.
The last figures available from 2015-16 reveal that more than 120 academy trusts are paying heads over £150,000.

Most of these inflated wages are paid in MATs which, conveniently for them, the Tories have made exempt from being challenged over excessive pay.
Only small single-school trusts are questioned by the Department for Education if they pay anyone over £150,000.

High wages for chief executives have gone hand-in-hand with cuts imposed by these chains on the actual teaching staff.
A report by the School Teachers’ Review Body last year revealed that the levels of spending on teachers in academies had fallen to just over half the total academies expenditure. In fact, 25% of the best-paid academy bosses were awarded pay rises of up to 141% by their academy trusts last year, while teachers have had to endure a 1% pay cap, effectively a massive pay cut, for the past seven years! At the same time, these academies managed to spend well over £172 million on ‘educational consultants’.

This led Sir Michael Wilshaw, former chief inspector of Ofsted, to warn: ‘The Department for Education has clearly lost control. Public money is not being spent well and the excesses that we’re seeing in relation to salaries will bring down the whole programme unless the DfE gets a grip.’
Wilshaw is whistling in the wind begging for the DfE to get a grip. The entire academisation of education was designed by the Tories to privatise the system and give the bosses and chief executives complete freedom over school budgets to loot and plunder at will.

When these academy chains go bust they will simply walk away with the loot in their pockets throwing responsibility back to the local councils leaving them to try and pick up the pieces while they move on to the next Tory privatisation scam.

Wilshaw is really worried that, along with the privatisation of the NHS, laying waste to public education is fuelling the hatred of the working class for this minority Tory government and the bankrupt capitalist system it serves and paving the way for a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government that will end academies and ensure a good, free education for every pupil.


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