The question has be asked - do academies have the business and commercial acumen to ensure efficient and economic financial management of schools budgets? Is this detracting from teaching excellence?
Some leading academies have found new freedom in having financial control and have planned and invested for current pupils very well. Others are overwhelmed by this responsibility and frankly do not have the business skills or the buying power of larger purchasing organisations to secure financial advantage. To hold cash in reserve means two things:
- The current pupil cohort is not benefiting from available investment.
- It is likely that in a years' time the reserve will buy less than it does now.
With education under financial pressure, suffering from ageing and inadequate estates and significant shortage of pupil places there needs to be carefully considered investment across the whole education landscape. There should be no opportunity for some academies to "hold reserves", whilst other schools could readily invest the monies to meet basic provisions for pupils.
It is time to have an education system that allows those who are professionally trained to teach, are freed to do just that.
Academisation is about providing freedom for local schools to choose the best for their pupils - It would seem that freedom does not necessarily mean progress!
Academies have overspent by more than £170m, the latest government figures have shown. Numbers released today by the Department for Education show that academies’ expenditure exceeded their income by £171m. Academies received a total income of £16.74bn in the year ending August 2015, but they spent £16.91bn. The overspend equates to 1 per cent of the academies’ income