Education as it should be…?
The Guardian have recently published an article on the rewards to be had for rising to the top of an Academy management tree.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, the newspaper has revealed the level of taxpayer money spent on salaries, meals out, travel in comfort, private health insurance and the use of leased luxury cars.
The article reveals the expense clams of a Midlands based chain Chief Executive, who whilst drawing a salary of £180,000 p.a. leases a top of the range Jaguar car and dines in Marco Pierre White restaurants. It is a deep irony that the samed named individual is quoted as explaining how education in the UK faces stringent financial challenges and is seeking to reduce his school chain costs by £500,000.
In total, The Guardian claims, some one million pounds of public money has been spent on executives pay in the last twelve months. This tally includes one chain Chief Executive of a Trust, drawing a salary of £195,354 a year, who claims for the wi-fi costs of her French holiday home.
The Chief Executive of one Trust, The Guardian reports, which runs 12 schools, pays its chief executive and founder, a total package of £225,000, while his wife receives £175,000 as executive principal and founder.
Of more concern is the issue of ‘related party transactions’. This is where Directors of Trusts use companies, with whom they have a ‘close relationship’, to charge for services to the Trusts they are responsible for.
It is difficult, from the continuing Guardian article, to see how the Education Funding Agency (EFA), the body charged with oversight of Academy finances can have the resources, time and attention to detail to adequately police this tide of public money.
‘Academy numbers have risen from 600 to 5,000…the EFA dealt with 125% more financial returns in 2014-2015 than the previous year, despite having 20% fewer staff…’
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jul/23/education-academies-funding-expenses?CMP=share_btn_link Accessed: 16.08.2016
We leave the last word to Head of Education at Unison, Jon Richards. “There are huge amounts of public money being shovelled around in the schools system, and unless the EFA ups its game, plenty of unscrupulous people out there will help themselves.”