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Academy accounts and performance – PAC takes evidence from Government, trusts, others

PAC examines academy school accounts and performance in evidence sessions today 19 Nov (4pm) and Wednesday 21 Nov (2.30pm). 

Scope of the inquiry

Academies are publicly funded independent state schools. The academy sector in England is responsible for the education of over two million pupils across nearly 6,000 academies. Academy trusts have some responsibilities other schools do not have, including responsibility for financial performance. It is important that academy trusts have the capability to run academy schools well and that they can be trusted to manage large amounts of public money.

Each academy school must be part of an academy trust; most are part of multi-academy trusts that bring together groups of schools. Academy trusts are directly funded by, and accountable to the Department for Education (DfE) via the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). In 2016-17, DfE provided revenue funding of £17.0 billion to academies.

As of January 2018, 7,472 of the 21,538 state-funded schools in England (35%) were academies. Of these, 6,996 had converted from maintained schools and 476 were free schools. In March 2018, the Committee published a report which concluded that academy trusts often fall short on standards of governance, accountability and financial management. The report welcomed the publication of the first Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts (SARA) as a positive step forward in improving transparency and accountability in the sector.

In November 2018, DfE published the second SARA, covering the academic year from 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017. This inquiry will provide an opportunity to challenge officials about the SARA, and ask for updates about previous academy-related hearings.

The Committee will question the DfE and ESFA about the quality, usefulness and timeliness of the SARA. It will also ask about progress on improving governance and financial management in the academies sector. Members may also want to ask about other issues related to academies such as asbestos and the condition of the school estate.

In addition, Members will have a chance to ask teachers and parents of children in academies about their experiences.


Mon Nov 19 from 4pm:

Angela Barry, Interim CEO, Bright Tribe Trust

David Boyle, Principal and accounting officer, Dunraven Academy

John Wentworth, Consultant, Durand Academy Trust

Cllr Julie Rayson, Parent and campaigner, Whitehaven Academy

Judy Davidson, Retired teacher and former school governor, Whitehaven Academy

Wed Nov 21 at 2.30pm:

Jonathan Slater, Perm Sec, Department for Education

Eileen Milner, CEO, Education and Skills Funding Agency

and Mike Pettifer, Director, Academies and Maintained Schools Group, ESFA


Room 8, Palace of Westminster. Webcasts here (today) and here (Wed).

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