Academies Enterprise Trust ‘barred’ by DfE from taking on new schools (updated)

The academy sponsor is told by Department for Education to improve results at their 66 academies, which includes two on the Isle of Wight.

Wagging finger:

An article by Greg Hurst in yesterday’s The Times newspaper revealed that Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), the sponsor who run Ryde Academy and Sandown Bay Academy, have been ‘barred’ by the Government from taking over any more schools.

It was revealed that the academy sponsor have been instructed by the Department for Education (DfE) to concentrate on raising results in their existing 66 schools.

AET are described by the paper as the ‘biggest player in the field’ of academy sponsorship and although only formed three years ago, took on a whopping 42 new schools last year alone.

At least 18 failing schools
The report states that 18 of its schools are failing with 30 in need of improvement and only two rated as outstanding.

As readers will know Sandown Bay Academy was recently placed into Special Measures following an Ofsted inspection in January.

Ryde Academy has yet to receive an Ofsted inspection since the school became an Academy as part of the school reorganisation from three tiers to two tiers.

“Believe you can …”
Quote of the week on the Academies Enterprise Trust Website is “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt.

Update: 4th June 2013
Mike Barnett, Publicity Consultant for AET told OnTheWight,

The headline and story in The Times in March 2013 that we have been ‘banned’ from taking on more academies is untrue. We are the largest multi-sponsor in England and we currently have 70 academies. Because of the rate of expansion we agreed with the DfE last summer that after taking on a number of applications ‘in the pipeline’ that we would ‘pause and consolidate’ our network. The number is expected to be 74 in July and is expected to grow to 80 in September. The latest one to join us was a Swindon primary from 1 June.

Image: Lara604 under CC BY 2.0

Saturday, 30th March, 2013 4:11pm



Filed under: Education, Government, Isle of Wight News, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Sandown, School Reform, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Two words: Essex & Beynon!!

  2. Why is it that every time either the Education Authority, local Council and now the “Acedemies Enterprise Trust” try to change things for the so called “better” things go wrong?
    We did not seem to get these problems in the 60’s and 70’s,even the 80’s, things started to go astray when suddenly we changed from a 3 tier school system to two and now things are getting worse trying to get these “Acedemies” involved.
    If it isn’t broke why try to fix it!

  3. Anthony Wood

    30.Mar.2013 5:43pm

    Classic case of AET being too greedy!

  4. steephilljack

    30.Mar.2013 8:57pm

    Academies were invented to provide central funding for schools in Local Education Authorities who could not manage their schools successfully.
    Now we have a major academy ‘sponsor’ failing in the same way, so where do we go from here ?
    Am I right to assume that IWC was responsible for choosing this particular academy provider ?

  5. The Charities Commission website reports that Academies Enterprise Trust (1125603) has been removed from normal reporting as an “Exempt Charity”.

    Exempt charities are those charities exempt from registration with the Charity Commission and, until 1st June 2010, were not subject to its regulatory powers. As an institution, the exempt charity was established in England and Wales for charitable purposes which are exempt from registration with and oversight by, the Charity Commission.

    To qualify as “Exempt”, the charity has to be non-profit-making but still has to submit approved accounts each year. So who in fact does regulate them?

    • Gove is intent on carrying out his “revolution” in education, breaking up the existing arrangements so as to replace them with something that serves the neo-liberal programme for education. His education reforms are not only about cuts and privatisation, but also about how the ruling elite see the role of education in their “big society” and who and what education serves.
      The kind of school to deliver such a curriculum is increasingly seen as the academy. Originally introduced by Labour as a way of introducing private interests into state education where schools were designated as “failed or failing”, they are now being pushed across the board. It has become quite a scandal how schools are being bullied and bribed to become academies, while other schools have been positioned to “fail” in order to impose academy status on them.The Conservatives on the isle of Wight support this process.
      While the traditional state sector will have its curriculum in its basic, prescribed form, “academies will have the freedom to vary any part of the national curriculum they consider appropriate,” said Gove. The idea is that the business interest involved will take things even further.
      This programme of converting schools to academies is arousing widespread opposition, not only from teachers and other education workers and their trade unions, but from students and communities. Gove has been described as on a “war footing” with unions in recent months, and many battles have been fought from concerned communities on this dismantling of the public education system.

  6. Gove is the worst Education Secretary since “Milk Snatcher Thatcher” (1970-74).

    And that is no minor achievement seeing the people who have screwed up UK education over the last 40 years, i.e.

    Kenneth Clarke
    John Patten
    Gillian Shepherd
    David Blunkett
    Estelle Morris
    Charles Clarke
    Ruth Kelly
    Alan Johnson
    Ed Balls

    ….. and now the clown of the show, Michael Gove.

    • steephilljack

      31.Mar.2013 3:41pm

      I worked for the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) for a few years and I will always remember the education press coverage of one research report: it was headlined
      “Government is the problem,research shows.”
      Mind you, government does not pay any attention to education research so they probably didn’t get see that one either.

      • I have thought for a long time that the last thing a modern-day government wants is an educated population. People start thinking for themselves and asking uncomfortable questions.

        In the extreme they are intelligent enough to band together to overthrow an unpopular government- as was seen in the Arab Spring in which the initial discontent was manifested by long-term unemployed graduates.

        So governments of any colour want to avoid that risk by confining educational opportunities to the elite and the bourgeosie.

        This government has followed the trend by limiting tertiary education to those who can afford to pay £9000 a term for it: at the secondary and primary levels, it is encouraging control to be put into the safe hands of businesses (masquerading as trusts but having valuable freeholds given to them) and conservative religious institutions.

        Orwell’s 1984 divided the population into Party members (the elites) and the Proles (everybody else. Party member were strictly controlled: proles were diverted by government sponsored porn and popular shows and foreign wars. Everybody- apart from senior Party members- were the subject of close surveillance.

        Look at today’s world- everybody captured on CCTV 200+ times each day, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and maybe Iran soon), TV and media littered with mind-numbing shows like X-factor and soft porn etc and tell me that 1984 is not already here.

        Resticting education to the favoured few is just one part of the long-term strategy operated by professional politicians of all three main parties.

  7. vanessa churchman

    31.Mar.2013 10:25pm

    The problem Cicero is that you are correct but we are getting some very unintelligent people in the Political Parties.
    I do agree with your comments relating to Orwell – TV gets dumber week by week. Had a look tonight and the only thing worth watching was Foyle and Andrew Lloyd Webber (if you like musicals). The root of the problem is professional politicians, coming out of university (some not even managing that), no real work experience and climbing the political ladder by being assistants, then private secretaries and then MP’s. One could say we made the mistake of paying them too much. In the old days you had to have a good job in order to be able to fund being an MP. That meant that a good majority of MP’s were clever enough to make enough money to be able to afford the privilege of representing people. They at least did know what ‘work’ was all about. I know there have always been a few who were lucky enough not to have to work but they were in the minority. We are now getting those who just want power, money and status and who often appear to be control freaks. One way of stopping this – GO OUT AND VOTE.

    • I agree with you Vanessa, though I would add that “in the old days [when] you had to have a good job in order to be able to fund being an MP”, intelligent people in working class jobs didn’t earn enough to cope with being an MP too, whereas barristers, for example, could do their highly-paid day job part time, & then work late at the House. I don’t judge people’s cleverness by how good they are at making money, & working class intelligent minds & w/c experiences were sorely lacking during those times: & they perhaps knew more about arduous work than those in the upper echelons. At least now you don’t have to have an extra income to subsidise being an MP, it is open to all. Though they are probably paid too much.

      (I missed Foyle? Doh!)

      • As I have consistently argued on OTW- make voting compulsory!

        Citizenship has duties as well as rights. One of those duties in a democracy is to select the government.

        • willieswildworld

          2.Apr.2013 10:36pm

          Dont believe compulsory voting would work , a far more effective way would be to assume all those non voters are “none of the above ” and consider these as real votes . how many times have your heard the boy idiot spouting about there mandate ? if only 30- 40 % vote id say 60 % didnt want any of you :- the non voters are the majority and not represented by any of the parties

  8. greenfiremouse

    1.Apr.2013 10:25am

    @Cicero: Compulsory voting under the current system may only result in a lot of spoilt papers.
    I think that a genuine system of Proportional Representation like in many countries in mainland Europe, on the other hand, would give voters the assurance that their vote is not wasted because they happen to live in the heartland of a party they do not want to vote for.
    The current system brings on a lot of frustration for “minorities” that actually would have something to say and contribute if this wasn’t consistently taken away from them by the large parties…
    Change that, and eventually people will wake up from the nightmare that makes them think they are unable to change anything. (Don’t forget, there is a lot less voter apathy on the Continent! And yes, in some countries you pay for it with more rapidly changing governments, but not in all of them!)

    • willieswilesworld

      3.Apr.2013 12:38pm

      How about adding a Non of the above box on the ballot paper …. with the assumption that non voters are counted in this box …. how about a change in party thinking whereby on a low turnout it is taken as read that those who chose not to vote actually didnt want any of the candidates on the paper ! …. and how about the parties realising that none of them are truely representative of the electorate unless …. unless the turnout is sufficently high enough …. lets say 80% plus counts as legit …. and why not apply these ideas to alll kinds of ballots … then we wouldnt need compulsion and this would cost nothing extra to deliver …. well

  9. There are several forms of PR being exercised today in Europe but its weakness (IMHO) is that the end result of such a system ends in coalition government.

    No one party has control but needs to achieve majority voting in governing the country by making alliances with other parties.

    This in turns means that the “kingmaker” parties have greater influence on policy-making than the level of electoral support warrants otherwise they threaten to withdraw their support from the main organising party.

    Take the last Knesset for example in which SHAS (ultra right wing religious party) were able to demand hardline actions of Netanyahu in his dealings with the West Bank, settlements and Gaza.

    Or take Italy as another example that changes its coalition governments as regularly as a certain Italian politician changes girl-friends.

    Government needs to be strong- coalitions are weak viz. the current one.

  10. Jake_Gully

    2.Apr.2013 1:05pm

    What a great Business they are though – just look at the last three years figures:

    Academies Enterprise Trust (CH Reg: 06625091)Private Limited Company / Registered Charity:

    Year 2011-12 – turnover £ 341M, retained Profit £ 195M

    Year 2010-11 – turnover £ 128M, retained Profit £ 64M

    Year 2009-10 – turnover £ 83M, retained Profit £ 44M

    Ofcourse as a registered charity there is no tax to pay on the profit and they should be applauded for efficiency that allows them to only spend 50% of their funding to achieve this profit.

    However, perhaps if they spent more on education and resourcing the schools they might be able to provide a high quality education for our children.

  11. mike starke

    2.Apr.2013 9:14pm

    Way back at the top of this; PW had it right; THOSE TWO WORDS.

    When the whole “academy/education trust” scam started, I Googled some names. Surprise, surprise; a few from Essex education authority (keep up, kids; where S. Beynon came from… in education)were listed as “directors”, or whatever, of the privateers.

    Try it now. I have. The Essex connection, or anything to identify the culprits, is harder to find.

    Let’s keep trying, though, eh?

  12. playingthenumbers

    2.Apr.2013 11:53pm

    I’m not sure what algorithms duckduckgo use, compared to say google – but sure enough the connections warrants further investigation;

    It’s not because I’m naturally suspicious of course, it’s just that Steve said when he was in Essex that ‘every child matters’, that he even needed youth cabinets to ‘keep the council in check’ & that the council’s priority was “instead of us worrying about what we’re doing as long as we’re making a difference to children and young people, and listening to children and young people that will get us focused on what we need to do”.

    What changed or why do island kids deserve such a poor service in comparison?

  13. What changed or why do island kids deserve such a poor service in comparison?
    More than two words this time:
    Power, Corrupion & Lies or Pugh, Brown, Beynon & Love.
    All inter-changeable though.

    • Billy Builder

      3.Apr.2013 11:15am

      I think that you are being a little unfair here PW, you can hardly blame these particular individuals for failure to deliver by an independent academy.

      You can however blame these people on all of the following:-

      The ignominy of having to ask Hants to run our Education and Children’s services because the Council was deemed incapable by OFSTED, who compelled the Council to outsource Children’s services to Hants, who in turn would only accept the Children’s services on the proviso that they got Education to.

      The failure to deliver the Cowes one school pathfinder project in November last year, because Pugh, Brown, Beynon, Love, Wells, Fiddler and Simmons know absolutely nothing about construction projects and put the kibosh on the delivery. Or was this because they failed to budget for maintenance of the new school and failed to take on the knowledge transfer meaning that they were incapable of running the new school, and the so called building delays were a smoke screen !

      Love lavishing hundreds and thousands of pounds of additional spend on the Cowes school project (400000+ and counting), to satisfy Wells and Fiddler. Still he will have the top job once the election is over (provided the Tories keep control of IOWC)

      The failure of Pugh, Beynon, Brown, Love etc to ensure that an application for school funding for 2014/15 was submitted by the December close date following their suspension of Janet Newton and John Brocklehurst, resulting in a loss to Island schools of between 3M and 15M

      The list goes on and on. But don’t blame them for the Academy issues, be fair

      • Nice posting Billy,

        With regard to Janet Newton, my understanding is that her post of Deputy Director of Education was deleted as part of the Hants outsourcing fiasco, and that she was made redundant by the Council on 31st March. I suspect that like Beynon, she got a big fat redundancy check, and is now looking for something to do! Perhaps as she now sits outside the Council, and is presumably no longer gagged, she could be tempted to do some public speaking at Pugh and Wells’s hustings maybe, or perhaps for the next CEC Parents council meeting. I’m sure that she could be a very illuminating speaker – does anyone have her contact details ?

        • Hi Cicero,

          Whilst I agree with most of your postings, this particular one is complete and utter tosh. What we need is a Council that truly represents the views of the Island as a whole, not just a subset of the population, whether that be Tory, Lib-Dem or Labour. In an ideal world, each member would truly represent his or her local constituents, and would not be influenced by Party allegiances. However, we do not have an ideal world, and Party whipping rules the day. Therefore the most representative Council would be one that is well hung, with no one party having more than 33% of the seats. In such a situation the only way to govern would be to discuss and compromise, such that a middle way is chosen. All members would effectively be equal.

          The current set-up has led to a situation whereby 54% of the population of the Island that voted in the last Council elections effectively have no representation.

          • Me’s think’s that my’s posting missed it target – I was supposed to be responding to Cicero’s comment lambasting hung councils – sorry

        • @Matt H

          I agree with you.

          So ban political party candidates from local elections: make voting compulsory so the result is not based on the 35% turnout that organised parties can achieve: institute PR for the Island: give ward electorates the right to dismiss their councillors and call fresh elections.

          BTW you have three weeks before 2nd May to achieve all this! :-))

          On the other hand, you could vote Independent!

  14. @Billy Builder “The list goes on and on. But don’t blame them for the Academy issues, be fair ”

    I do blame them for instituting the failed and failing Academy system on the Island following the diktats of their ideological masters in Westminster.

    [BTW Kent’s academies did worse than the Islands in last years results and IWC was seeking advice from them? Sheesh!.]

    • Billy Builder

      3.Apr.2013 2:15pm

      Better that it is a dodgy Academy rather than the current shower at County Hall. Can yo imagine the stat our schools would be in now if Pugh, Brown, Beynon, Love, Anderson, etc had had control of the lot. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  15. Gerard Hume

    15.Apr.2013 7:18pm

    No surprises here. We are/were about to join the AET ‘family’. No formal stuff has happened yet but strangely they want us to go on courses (run by and payable t them), Joing literacy schemes (£10,000 – again payable to them)..the list goes on.Academy sponsors are NOT charities..they are Thatcherite, scavenging money-grabbers. If you need change in education then think it through. just another quick ‘Wow’ measure speeded up by the onerous and obnoxious Michael Gove to boost his ministerial CV in his drive to get the big job! Education is too imnportant to be used as a political football.

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