The school improvement charity Achievement For All has gone into administration amid a £1 million deficit and issues over “double counted” revenue.
Dr Kulvarn Atwal, chair of the organisation, wrote to staff this week to announce the move, blaming the “double impact of the pandemic and current pressures on school budgets”.
According to the charity’s latest accounts, it delivered programmes to 30,000 children in 1,879 schools across England and Wales in the 12 months to March last year.
It comes after a damning two-year Education Endowment Foundation study last year concluded that the Achievement For All programme at key stage 2 had a “detrimental effect on learning”.
The trial, which cost over £900,000, took place between 2016 and 2018 and found children in schools that had the intervention made two months’ less progress in key stage 2 reading and maths, compared with children in control schools.
Charity takes ‘very difficult’ decision following ‘financial advice’
In an email to colleagues, Atwal said following “financial advice” the board had taken the “very difficult decision to cease trading with immediate effect and enter formal administration.
“Throughout the pandemic, the staff of Achievement for All have worked tirelessly to attract new funding and to create new opportunities for schools and settings.
“However, the double impact of the pandemic and current pressures on school budgets means that we are currently no longer able to complete our programmes to schools and settings or offer new programmes.”
He said the organisation’s priorities and focus were its “staff and partners”, and added that the charity was “working hard to enable current schools and settings to continue to access the online resources that have been created and developed over the ten years of Achievement For All.
“We sincerely thank all schools, settings and their leaders who have worked with us over the years to improve the life chances of all children and young people.”
He said the charity’s trustees had appointed FRP Advisory as administrators. But a spokesperson for the firm told Schools Week it had not yet been appointed. Atwal said the firm would contact “all staff shortly to advise on the next steps and provide further information as it becomes available”.
Organisation faced financial challenges pre-pandemic
Accounts for Achievement For All (3As) Ltd for the financial year ending March 2020 show the charity was facing financial difficulties even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
It recorded a deficit for the year of £1.04 million and had net liabilities of around £1.18 million.
The charity’s operating loss in the year to March 2020 included an “unfavourable variance” of £756,000, which was “largely attributable to a major technical issue with revenue recognition from April to December 2019”.
There was also a “fundamental issue with budgeting relating to the double counting of year 2 programme revenue”.
Covid also impacted on the start date of projects in March 2020, with programme income down by £852,000 and a reduction in project income of £245,000.
The charity said 40 per cent of its project income “did not materialise or start delivery in the financial year”.
Achievement For All brought in almost £1.5 million from school programmes in the year ending last March, down from £1.8 million the year before. Projects and “other income” funding dropped from around £1.4 million to just over £750,000.
The charity was previously linked to an academy sponsor – the Achievement For All Education Trust – which sponsored Park House school in Newbury. Last year the trust broke its ties with the sponsor and is now called Transform Learning Trust.
Achievement For All did not respond to a request for comment.