Academies scheme 'waste of money'
Filed under: News
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), claimed ministers were spending hundreds of millions of pounds on the initiatives at a time when public spending was being slashed.
Ms Blower said that the NUT had conducted research which she claimed shows that the DfE and arm's length agencies have spent £337.2 million on supporting academies and free schools since the coalition Government took office in May 2010.
This figure includes £305.6 million spent by the DfE, including grants of up to £25,000 given to schools that are converting to academies, as well as other grant payments, and payments to contractors and consultants.
Partnerships for Schools (PfS) made payments totalling £22.3 million for free school capital costs as well as technical, legal and property services relating to these schools between January 2011 and February 2012, the union claimed, while the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) made payments of £9.3 million between July and November last year to the 24 free schools that opened last autumn.
The union said the figures had come from monthly documents published by the DfE and its agencies which list individual payments of more than £25,000.
Ms Blower said: "It is quite extraordinary that in these times of cutbacks and austerity the Government has found £337.2 million to support its academies and free schools programme. Free schools represent a tiny proportion of England's schools yet there are 126 full-time junior staff and seven senior Department for Education staff working on the programme. Free schools are absorbing an increasing proportion of DfE staff resources at a time when the department as a whole is shrinking."
She added: "This programme will create a chaotic and unaccountable education system. Michael Gove must urgently rethink this policy which is neither needed nor wanted and is a dreadful waste of public resources and money."
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