Lack of scrutiny of academies to blame for Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' schools, new report says

 

Education Editor

Concern over the lack of accountability of the Government’s flagship academies is revealed today in a hard-hitting report from the influential Commons public accounts committee.

The lack of scrutiny of academies, which are answerable to Whitehall rather than local authorities, has been cited by Labour as one of the reasons firm action over the Birmingham “Trojan Horse” escaped public notice for so long. It was first brought to the attention of ministers four years ago.

In a report published today looking into the Education Funding agency, which is responsible for allocating cash to academies, the committee found the Department for Education did not have a proper vetting process in place to determine whether academy trustees or chief executives were “fit or proper” persons to run schools.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said: “In a very devolved system, as is the case with academies, a lot of trust is invested in the organisation, chief executive, principal and trustees for managing public money. However, the Department does not have a process for vetting those appointed as academy trustees or chief executives.” 

This is contrast to sponsors of free schools who do face a vetting process.

The report recommends ministers should immediately introduce such a scheme to ensure academies become more accountable.

Four of the five schools placed in special measures by education standards watchdog Ofsted as a result of the “Trojan Horse” investigation are academies.

The report also raises concerns about the practice of academy trusts awarding contracts for work to firms run by their own trustees, which, it says, is allowed under government guidelines.

However, Ms Hodge said such moves could be open to “accusations of conflicts of interest”, adding: “This serves to undermine public confidence.”

The report urges the EFA to reconsider its policy.

Mr Gove’s plan

* An investigation headed by the Permanent Secretary to look at the Department for Education’s handling of the situation following claims from a Birmingham headteacher, Tim Boyes, that he informed then Schools Minister of the problem four years ago.

* Four academies declared inadequate to be told the Government is minded to terminate their operating agreement - and appoint new sponsors to the school.  A council-run school will have its governing body sacked - and replace with a new interim board.

* Schools will in future be required to encourage British values in lessons - to avoid a change to an Islasmic culture.

* Teachers who bring extremist outside speakers into schools to be banned from the profession.

* Governors who reveal extremist tendencies to be banned for life.

* All schools to be told in future they could face unannounced inspections.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

News
people

Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband

News
The Bounceway, designed by Architecture for Humanity
newsLondon to add 'The Bounceway' to commuting options
Life and Style
Stefan Gates with some mince flies
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rooney Mara plays a white Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
filmFirst look at Rooney Mara in Pan
Life and Style
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
tech
Life and Style
health

Do you qualify – and how do you get it?

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Maths Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: We are currently recruiting f...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher -Full Time - ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital