I’ve spoken before about the Tory government flagship educational policy of privatisation of the national schools estate through the mechanism of creating Academy chains to replace local authority control of schools. The narrative behind it was that local authorities were the structural aspect ‘holding schools back’.
Although there were local authorities which were less effective than others, that was hardly a pretext to subjecting them all to encourage their schools to convert to autonomous academy chains.
Unfortunately, in the process of conversion, the previous strands of local accountability were broken. Inevitably into this vacuum of oversight, poor governance and local lack of accountability, anomalous behaviour and downright fraud developed.
It may have been poor planning and financial systems, grandiose ideas on the part of CEOs, or out and out graft that drove the expenditure of public funds on schemes other than those to provide benefit to the unfortunate pupils of the academies.
Pippa Allen-Kinross of Schools Week outlines the latest chapter in the story of defrauded pupils in academies: Blacklisted Academy Bosses were a one-off say DfE
Further reading: DfE’s Lilac Sky investigation report STILL not published