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Sunday, 11 March 2018 16:57

SchoolsCompany Trust brings Goodwin Academy close to ruin: East Kent Mercury 1st March 2018

See Original Article here

Back in 2014, SchoolsCompany had been advising the predecessor Castle Community College as it tumbled from Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Special Measures’ in three years, hardly an endorsement. It was difficult to pin down the history of the company owner, apart from establishing he had been involved in several companies which had folded. I was not alone in being surprised when Government decided SchoolsCompany should take on Goodwin Academy on the basis of it having run three small Pupil Referral Units in Devon for a short period. Although SchoolsCompany expressed its wish to expand its Academy business and there is a shortage of suitable sponsors around, Government has not seen fit to award it any other academy! Instead in 2017, the owner opened six new companies and was awarded a contract to build and run a Nigerian state government college, the Royal Academy for Construction and Fabrication.

As your article reports, SchoolsCompany was issued with a ‘Financial Notice to Improve’ by government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency, in July 2017, expressing urgent concerns about weaknesses in financial management, requests for additional funds, and and governance. The 2016 Accounts show money leaching away, with a deficit of £943,118, up from £34,649 the previous year. The Notice demands 19 improvements in practice be put into place, including eliminating the deficit by the end of the financial year, making every possible economy including in the inflated Trust Senior Management Team, and staffing costs across the Trust’s . It has clearly failed in a number of these requirements,

Of the 11 Trustees at the time of the Notice, eight were paid a salary by the Trust, so had a sharp conflict of interest with regard to their responsibilities. Ten have now resigned from the Trust, with seven new members appointed, six for December 2017. The seventh, Angela Barry, an appointee of the Regional Schools Commissioner, arrived on 23rd February, displacing the current owner of the Trust as CEO, although he remains as the sole survivor of the original Board.

The whole is horribly reminiscent of the Lilac Sky Academy Trust fiasco last year, involving seven Kent schools, where Angela Barry was brought in to close it down as being financially non-viable after a large amount of money vanished from the accounts.

Last modified on Friday, 23 March 2018 11:11

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