Academies trust makes payments to its chairman’s US company

Writing in his Guardian column, Warwick Mansell reports that a US company founded by the chairman of a London-based academies trust has been paid more than £125,000 by the trust over the past two academic years…

Aspirations Unlimited International (AUI) was paid for its “intellectual property and materials plus consultancy support”, which included travel and subsistence costs for its founder, Dr Russ Quaglia…

The trust’s 2013-14 accounts say that AUI charged AAT “at or below cost” for its services, meaning the firm says it did not make a profit.

The academy chain said the fees included the provision of surveys and resources, extensive support and training in their use, speakers at senior leadership conferences and travel and accommodation for Quaglia, whose commitment “goes far beyond what could reasonably be expected for a chairman”…

More (including an interesting letter from David Laws to Bradford Council) at: Academies trust makes payments to its chairman’s US company

 

Are you concerned at revelations like this or is perfectly reasonable for the local academies to pay the US company for support and resources?

I guess the issue is that it is very difficult, as outsiders, to know if the money was well spent or not.

Your thoughts and reactions? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. TW

    The global education market is worth three and a half trillion dollars per year.  Why do you think academies were created?

  2. PompeyDog

    SchoolsImprove it’s what Blair wanted all along. Might as well have put the bankers in charge of education as well…

  3. I posted this comment in the Guardian:

    Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee chair, said related party transactions between academies and trustees were ‘wrong’. She was sceptical of the ‘at cost’ rule when such contracts were allowed – trustees’ companies would just put up the ‘cost’ to cover any profit, she said.
    When academies are in chains which link them to products provided by trustees, they are effectively locked in to these products whether curriculum (Aurora Academies Trust and ‘Paragon’) or surveys (AAT and Quaglia). These products may be good (‘Paragon’ was described as ‘vibrant’ by Ofsted at Oakwood Primary Academy but the school was still judged RI). Equally they may not. But their academies don’t have the freedom to change.
    So much for autonomy.

  4. @Meenakumari999 SchoolsImprove Before the last election Michael Gove said he would be happy if groups like Serco ran schools.  He was speaking at the launch of Policy Exchange’s ‘Blocking the Best’ which advocated running schools for profit.  All that was needed, it said, was to make schools ‘independent’ and they could outsource their operation to for-profit providers.  Academies are theoretically ‘independent’.  For more information including link to Gove’s PX speech see:
    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/10/gove-is-in-favour-of-profit-making-companies-running-state-schools/

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