A non-executive board member at the Department for Education (DfE) has taken a new role with an academy trust founded by education minister Lord Nash, Schools Week can report.

Theodore Agnew took up a role as a director of Future Academies in July, documents newly lodged with Companies House show.

Mr Agnew is sponsor and chairman at the Inspiration Trust, which runs six schools and a sixth form college in Norfolk.

Since December, 2010, Mr Agnew has also been a non-executive board member at the DfE, chairing the department’s academies board. The board was set up in 2013 to strengthen the department’s relationship with academy sponsors.

Mr Agnew is also a trustee of Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank seen as influential in shaping education policy under the present government.

Future Academies was founded by Lord Nash – now Under Secretary of State for Schools – and his wife Caroline Nash. The trust runs four academies in London.

Future Academies did not respond to a request for comment on the appointment.

The trust has made a number of recent appointments to its board, with Lorna Parker and Dr Jo Saxton both added in recent months, Companies House records show. Ms Parker is an adviser with investment company BC Partners, while Dr Saxton is a company director of Primary Colours Education.

Lord Nash’s role at the DfE has previously been the subject of criticism, as a former large-scale donor to the Conservative party.

When he was appointed, in January 2013, the DfE said he would step away from any business interests that may present a conflict of interest.

Inspiration Trust declined to comment, as did the DfE.

Ofsted is currently investigating claims that two Inspiration Trust schools, Thetford Academy and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, received advance notice of inspections. The trust has previously denied being tipped-off.


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