- Created: Thursday, 26 April 2018 09:48
When academy schools were introduced by the Blair Labour government in 2000, they were taken out of the local education authority (LEA) control, given extra funding, and promoted as examples of the superiority of the private over the state sector. The government made an alliance with the ‘carpet king’ – millionaire Carpetright owner and Conservative Party donor, Philip (later Lord) Harris of Peckham. The original deal was that for a down payment of £3 million, any business could take over and run a school. Today, the Harris Federation runs 40 schools and pays its chief executive, Sir Daniel Moynihan, £420,000 a year. Where does this money come from? From the budget of the Department for Education (DfE), the same budget as for LEA schools. Far from escaping the state, academy schools depend on it for finance, and have received more than their fair share of funds. Now they face massive budget deficits and debt, and an estimated one-third of them are facing financial crisis.