Will deficits be a deal breaker for academy sponsors in Birmingham?

In a very welcome move Birmingham City Council has this week deferred decisions on academy conversion at 8 schools amid concerns about asset stripping and the practice of writing off debts for converting schools. This should come as a huge relief for the ordinary citizens of Birmingham, many of whom have probably been unaware that they have been haemorrhaging public assets and funds to the academies programme in this way over the past two years.

Read the newspaper report here  http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-news/2012/08/02/eight-birmingham-academy-schools-on-hold-as-1-3-million-debts-loom-65233-31528483/#ixzz22T3NXabk

Matters had been set to get even worse with Michael Gove targeting the city’s primary schools for forced academy conversion. A plethora of new sponsors – many with little or no experience of running schools – has emerged in response to the Government’s forced academy programme, and they have been hovering like vultures over Birmingham schools. Meanwhile, the more established sponsors have been digging in. ARK announced in March that they would be opening a ‘Birmingham Hub’. So it will be interesting to see how the sponsors respond to this new development.  ARK, which is run by hedge fund managers, were expecting significant deficits to be written off for their 3 new acquisitions, including £797,922  for Primrose Junior & Infants alone.

At least 30 other Primary Schools across the city have been told they must ‘choose’ academy conversion or Michael Gove will impose it on them. But despite the expanding choice of sponsors, some schools have struggled to find a sponsor prepared to take them on. The Elliott Foundation pulled out of West Heath Primary School earlier this year, after a buildings survey revealed asbestos and the need for considerable investment. The sponsors are only in it for the money after all. They see the £ signs in a system that will provide them with a guaranteed per-pupil income. Paying off a deficit, just like investment in crumbling buildings, may well prove to be a deal-breaker in Birmingham.

For more on how ‘charity’ sponsors like the Elliott Foundation plan to make money out of our schools see Spotlight on sponsors – Elliot Foundation

One thought on “Will deficits be a deal breaker for academy sponsors in Birmingham?

  1. Reblogged this on Gogwit's Blog and commented:
    It does seem to be all about the money. And all about something for nothing.  That ‘something’ represents the collective expenditure of ourselves, our parents, their parents, their parents… right back to the 1870s when far-sighted, enterprising individuals with a social conscience and something missing from the new rich of today, a concept of ‘noblesse oblige,’ decided that the nation’s best interests would be served by educating all our children to a minimum standard. The best architects designed and built the schools to exacting standards. Many of these schools are still in use. Other land set aside for recreation and playing fields has already been disposed of at bargain-basement prices.
    And these people who want to walk off with our public buildings, land and institutions with a sleight-of-hand are those who will tell you that you can’t have something for nothing.

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