• WCAT school left without sponsor over £1 million-a-year PFI contract

    A private finance initiative contract costing more than £1 million a year has stopped one of the last schools left from the collapsed Wakefield City Academies Trust from finding a new home. Mexborough Academy is one of the last two of WCAT’s 21 schools left without a new sponsor since the trust’s collapse in September.

    7.00 Mar. 9th, 2018 | News

  • United Learning boss rules out taking costly PFI schools 'ever again'

    One of the largest academy chains in England has refused to take on any new schools with costly PFI contracts because it has “barely any control” over the buildings. The 51-school United Learning has declined to adopt the struggling Sedgehill School in Lewisham, south-east London, which council documents show has a debt of over £1

    5.00 Mar. 9th, 2018 | News

  • Public accounts committee chair slams 'exorbitantly expensive' PFI contracts

    The chair of the parliamentary public accounts committee Meg Hillier has spoken out against costly private finance initiative contracts and warned that the scheme’s relaunch as PF2 is little more than a rebrand. “Many local bodies are now shackled to inflexible PFI contracts that are exorbitantly expensive to change,” she said, reflecting the situation faced

    0.01 Jan. 18th, 2018 | News

  • Academy facing ‘crippling’ £21 million PFI costs will now close

    A struggling academy facing “crippling” PFI repayments of £21 million will now close, it has been confirmed. Schools Week reported last week how the government had agreed “in principle” to close The Kingsway Academy, in Wirral, following two-year discussions over its viability. Northern Schools Trust, which took on the academy in 2014, said low pupil

    15.30 Jul. 3rd, 2017 | News

  • Academy facing closure over 'crippling' £21 million PFI costs

    A struggling academy is facing closure because of “crippling” PFI repayments – with the council set to pick up the outstanding £21 million debt. The government has agreed “in principle” to close The Kingsway Academy, in Wirral, following two-year discussions over its viability. Northern Schools Trust, which took on the academy in 2014, said low

    5.00 Jun. 29th, 2017 | News

  • Norfolk council rakes in £500,000 from academy conversion fees

    Schools in Norfolk have paid more than £500,000 in “conversion costs” to their local authority to become academies, Schools Week can reveal. The charges cover almost the entire estimated cost to the council of legal and financial work during the conversion. But in other parts of the country schools paid far less, or nothing at

    5.00 Jan. 13th, 2017 | News

  • Newham schools consider suing council over £500k PFI costs

    Two schools are considering high court action to settle a row with their local authority over a disputed PFI bill they claim has stalled their academy conversion. Rokeby School and Lister Community School, in the London borough of Newham, want to convert and form a multi-academy trust, with plans to take over the Newham Collegiate

    17.38 Dec. 8th, 2016 | News

  • Ofsted sticks school in special measures, criticising 'messy' talks over academy status

    A school whose academy conversion hit the buffers over its controversial PFI deal has been put in special measures. Noel-Baker school, in Derby, has been rated inadequate in every category with inspectors blaming “messy” talks over academy status having a “negative impact on vital school improvement work”. The local authority-maintained school was built as part

    5.00 Dec. 4th, 2016 | News

  • PFI costs scupper Staffordshire academy takeover – despite DfE’s £1.5m deal offer

    An Ofsted-rated outstanding Staffordshire academy has pulled out of taking over a struggling school because of its costly private finance initiative (PFI) contract, despite being offered an “unprecedented” £1.5 million sponsorship sweetener. Governors at St Joseph’s college, Stoke-on-Trent, have backed out of the planned sponsorship of nearby Birches Head academy after deciding the financial risks

    5.00 Jul. 11th, 2016 | News

  • Durand Academy Trust must address "serious concerns" over use of public money - or face termination

    A controversial south London academy is facing the termination of its funding agreement if it fails to address “serious concerns” about its use of public money and governance. The Education Funding Agency has issued Durand Academy Trust with a list of final demands, some of which must be met by August 1, if the school

    11.36 Jul. 4th, 2016 | News

  • Academy contracts are not fit for purpose – so how do we change them?

    Academies have been given different freedoms depending on when they signed a funding agreement or what they managed to negotiate with a government minister. Suggested reforms from an IPPR seminar would not threaten school autonomy. Instead they would allow the government to set out a more consistent set of freedoms — and help to reduce bureaucracy in

    6.00 Jan. 18th, 2016 | Opinion