Academies cost the taxpayer an extra £1bn

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The National Audit Office has reported that the ideological drive for academisation has cost taxpayers £1bn of additional funding. Stephen Twigg commented that '“This report raises serious concerns about the failure of Michael Gove’s department to properly manage the expansion of the academies programme.
“Because of their failure to estimate demand, a £350 million black hole has had to be found from other budgets – more than eight times the scale of the West Coast rail fiasco. Ministers need to explain what education services have been cut because of this mismanagement.
“Michael Gove needs to realise that you can’t ensure value for money if you try to run 3,000 schools from Whitehall. We need greater scrutiny and oversight and local accountability to ensure school standards improve and the taxpayer gets value for money.”

The BBC adds that 'According to the report, the department had budgeted £7.3bn to set up and run academies in the two years from April 2010 to March 2012. It says officials were expecting some extra expenditure, to cover factors such as additional insurance, but were unprepared for the numbers of academies wanting to convert. In fact the total expenditure on academies amounted to £8.3bn - £1bn over budget. Taxpayers have the right to expect a more considered and controlled approach to public spending than the department has so far displayed”

The £1bn includes £350m paid to local authorities for temporary continued funding of places at non-academy schools, effectively double funding places while academies were being set up.The report says that to fund the expansion and remain within overall spending limits, the DfE had to find the money from other budgets, including the main schools settlement.'

You can read the full BBC story here:

Thu, 22/11/2012 - 10:03