The Academy sponsor that runs a third of Island schools told by Gov to stop

Discussions in Parliament reveal that Academy sponsor on the Island has been restricted in taking on any new schools.

School classroom :

Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), the organisation that the Isle of Wight council chose to run a third of the Isle of Wight’s six secondary schools, has been officially stopped from taking over the running of more schools, with The Telegraph citing “serious concerns over education standards and financial mismanagement” for the restriction.

AET is one of 14 Academy sponsors that the Government has “restricted in full from sponsoring new academies”, it was disclosed in the answer to a Parliamentary question.

A spokesperson from AET told OnTheWight the restriction came into force during September 2013 and gave us the following quote,

“In the summer of 2012 AET agreed with DfE to pause our academy expansion programme and consolidate the academies we have. In September 2012 we had 51 academies. Since then we have had DfE approval for a further 26 which have joined us.

“The DfE has made it clear that we have reached our current capacity and no more academies will be joining us in the foreseeable future. We are happy with this and are concentrating our efforts on significantly improving the 77 schools in our network.”

He went on to add,

“The last academy receiving DfE approval was Newlands Special School in Southwark which joined us in September 2013. Consequently that is when the restriction came into effect.”

The same previously alleged
A year ago, OnTheWight ran an article citing a report in The Times that AET had been ‘barred’ from taking over more schools. AET got in contact and insisted that this wasn’t the case.

AET have 77 schools under their control across the country. At the time, the Isle of Wight council’s Conservative administration converted the Island schools into academies, due to the shift from three tier to two tier, AET originally pitched to run all of the Island’s academies.

IW standards questions
Back in November it came to light that Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of Education had written to AET about “unacceptably low standards” at Sandown Bay Academy.

Burying bad news accusation
The Government is facing criticism for releasing this information of Budget Day, with critics accusing it of trying to bury the bad news.

Image: -marlith- under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 21st March, 2014 10:27am



Filed under: Business, Education, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, School Reform, Top story

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6 Comments on "The Academy sponsor that runs a third of Island schools told by Gov to stop"

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Steve Goodman
A small world? Steve Beynon worked in education in Essex. AET emerged in Essex. Steve came to the island. Under Steve’s leadership, AET came here too. Ofsted eventually recognised the island education disaster; Steve retired, at our expense. Having failed to provide our children with a good education (despite the big salaries & grand predictions), Steve crept out of retirement to work in schooling in Essex (where… Read more »
Actually this is old news. The DfE had concerns about AET’s standards and (alleged) “financial irregularities” some 18 months ago. It is interesting that John Denham- Labour MP- raised the PQ seeing that it was the Blair government who introduced the academy system in 2000. Wasn’t he a Cabinet minister? Rather than the government using Budget Day to release bad news- this smells to me like a… Read more »
Sally Perry

Indeed, that’s right (as referenced in the article) The ‘news’ bit of Simon’s article is that it was brought up in Parliament recently.


Was this not an answer to a PQ rather than a “discussion recently”? Hansard reports no follow-up supplementary question or debate on AET in particular.


Academy Schools Programme ‘A Spectacular Failure’


Again nothing new- I have been regularly documenting the failure of the academy system (on the Island and generally) in this blog for the last two years.