Owl says: Academies: they were supposed to be BETTER than local authority schools because they were free from the financial constraints and poorer management of local authorities they would raise standards (while making pots of money for the private companies running them!!! Right!
Transpose to the NHS and hospitals and you can see where this is leading …
“A multi-academy trust in Devon which was commissioned to support children who are unable to attend mainstream school is being replaced due to serious failings.
Devon’s alternative education provision (AP) has been running as a sponsored academy by SchoolsCompany who this week have apologised to parents for its financial mismanagement and not providing a high quality of education.
The SchoolsCompany currently run three AP academies in Devon – Central Devon Academy in Exeter, North Devon Academy in Barnstaple, and South and West Devon Academy in Dartington.
AP includes pupil referral units and education for children with medical needs or who are in care.
As a result of its failings, it has closed Tavistock Youth Café, a community-based model of education provision for children who are out of school.
The decision was based on concerns over the quality of education being provided, and health and safety.
At the beginning of the year North Devon Academy pupil referral unit was placed into special measures after a damning Ofsted report deemed it to be “inadequate” across the board.
In October 2017, a monitoring Ofsted inspection report following a visit to Central Devon Academy concluded safeguarding is not effective.
The academy was formed in March 2015, replacing the Devon County Council Pupil Referral Unit.
South and West Devon Academy in Dartington was last inspected in July 2014 and was rated good. At that time it was seeking to become a sponsored academy.
SchoolsCompany has already come under scrutiny this year following revelations of financial mismanagement of its other academy in Kent.
In February it apologised to its pupils and parents after admitting “unacceptable failures of financial management”.
The educational consultancy, school management and training company describes itself as being dedicated to improving services for children, but has now had to issue another apology this week.
A spokesperson for SchoolsCompany said: “The academies in Devon have fallen short of the high standards that young people should expect and there have been shortcomings in the trust’s overall financial management.
“We would like to apologise to our students and their parents. Young people deserve the very best education.”
At the beginning of the year the trust’s chief executive Elias Achilleos was suspended and replaced by an interim, Angela Barry.
In Devon, a short-term service level agreement has been made for Plymouth-based ACE Schools Multi Academy Trust to step in and have identified actions to address the current shortcomings.
It has not been confirmed who will take over as new sponsors of Devon’s AP.
A spokesperson for SchoolsCompany continued: “We agree with the respective Regional Schools Commissioners that new academy trusts should be identified as prospective sponsors to take over the trust’s four schools in Devon and Kent.
“These strong trusts will provide the expertise and stability needed to run the academies successfully. No decisions have been taken as to who these new sponsors will be.”
Concerns have raised by the impact the trust’s failings are having on Devon’s most vulnerable pupils.
An education worker, who asked not to be named said: “Huge amounts of Devon County Council funding have gone into the contract, along with central government funding via the Education and Schools Funding Agency.
“In the meantime all sorts of injustices are being meted out to the most vulnerable young people in the county and closure of provision in some localities.
“SchoolsCompany were already a failed company before Devon took them on. Their reputation in Kent, for example, is associated with the failure of a number of schools in an academy group.
“The very sad thing is Devon was one of the first counties to commission the education provision for its most vulnerable children in this sponsored academy way. That’s the greatest tragedy.
““The county took a massive risk but they were also under a lot of pressure from the Department for Education to make their local authority education provision over to sponsored academies.”
A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “The three academies are overseen by the Regional Schools Commissioner on behalf of the Government and are not Devon County Council schools.
“However, these academies serve vulnerable Devon children and we have been having continuing discussions with the RSC and the provider about improving the quality of education and care for these pupils.
“The Plymouth-based ACE academy trust is now working with SchoolsCompany and we are regularly meeting with them to monitor the situation and to ensure the needs of these vulnerable pupils are met.”