Public Accounts Committee report April 2013: academies

22-04-2013

The public accounts committee, in a report released on 22 April, concluded that the Department for Education (DfE) drew £95m of this money from a budget that was supposed to have been spent on underperforming schools to help support the academies programme.

Margaret Hodge, the chair of the committee, said:

"Of the £8.3bn spent on academies from April 2010 to March 2012, some £1bn was an additional cost, which had to be met by diverting money from other departmental budgets. Some of this money had previously been earmarked to support schools struggling with difficult challenges and circumstances; £350m of the extra £1bn represented extra expenditure [and] was never recovered from local authorities."

The report also blames the overly complex and inefficient academy funding system which led to ‘overpayments and errors’. It also highlights that this money has been used at the expense of weaker non academy schools, particularly the primary sector.

The committee concludes that a proper judgment on whether the academies programme had been value for money would ultimately depend on the impact it had on pupils' educational performance.

The DfE dispute the claims saying:

"The DfE has made significant savings in the last two and a half years, and has also set aside significant contingencies, which have been set against the growth in academies."

View the full report: Public Accounts Committee - Forty-First Report Department for Education: Managing the expansion of the Academies Programme