Writing in his column in the Guardian, Warwick Mansell asks if pupil premium for disadvantaged pupils should be diverted to an academy chain’s head office.
…We ask after we discovered that the south London-based Griffin Schools Trust (GST) is taking 5% of the cash it receives via the pupil premium fund for what is described variously on its schools’ websites as “GST management support”, “GST-fee” or “trust strategy”.
Such a central levy appears to be frowned on officially. An Ofsted report [pdf] on the rival E-Act chain last year criticised it for allegedly having deducted pupil premium cash before it reached schools.
Meanwhile, government guidance on pupil premium spending in non-academy schools says local authorities – the equivalent in the maintained sector to the headquarters of academy chains – should pass on all of the cash directly to schools.
A source who pointed us to the Griffin information said: “This cannot be right. To take pupil premium money away from these schools to line the coffers of this trust is abhorrent…”
The trust would not comment directly, but pointed us to a statement [pdf] that outlines how the 5% charge is spent, including contributing to arts programmes and expert teacher support, for pupils’ benefit. The cash “funds coordinated, strategic work across the trust that supports the chosen work of individual schools”, it said.
More (including details of proposed salary cuts to support staff in Durham) at: Academy chain helps itself to pupil premium money
Can you see any justification for an academy chain taking a cut of the pupil premium funding?
What if they are using it to pay for programmes and support dedicated to students? Is that different to an individual school choosing to spend some of the money in the same way?
Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…
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