New academies will receive a share of pooled budgets that they don’t contribute to

I said a while ago that, although I’m open-minded about the academy scheme, I was concerned that schools that don’t opt out of local authority control will end up picking up the tab for those that do. That seems to be exactly what’s happening. Local authority finance officials in a couple of councils have noticed that new academies will get a share of income from traded services such as governor support. That means, in effect, that academies will get a share of money from a pot of cash that they are unlikely to have paid in to.

Confused? I am. So here’s an example of what I mean. Governor support services in one council have a budget of £220K. 3 per cent of this comes from the council. The rest comes from governing body subscriptions. Academies, however, won’t be just entitled to a share of the £8K contributed by the the local council (which would be fair enough). They’ll also be entitled to a share of the cash contributed by other (almost exclusively non-academy) schools.

I’m not sure what would be worse: that this is deliberate or another ham-fisted effort to legislate by DfE officials. My colleague John has uncovered another couple of doozies in the Bill. The most glaring is that the main funding agreement has relieved the responsibility of Academies to have a prospectus but Annex C assumes that a prospectus will still be published. Is there something in the water at Sanctuary Buildings?

    1. The optimist (or pessimist, depending on who you are) might suspect this is incentivising; but given Gove’s already stained reputation, I suspect he has just dropped another ball here.

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