Academy schools get extra public funding in gaffe

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MANY schools which converted to academy status last year mistakenly got extra public funding, in some cases worth tens of thousands of pounds.

The Financial Times said an average secondary school, teaching 1,000 pupils, which converted to an academy at the start of 2010/11, would have received an extra £118,000, while others may have received more than £300,000. It said the overpayments were due to officials using old and inconsistent data to work out funding.

Academy schools were set up under Tony Blair’s Labour government and were aimed at boosting standards in the poorest areas.

Last year, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to open up the academies scheme to allow all schools to apply. In total, 842 schools converted in 2010/11.

They receive funding directly, and this is supposed to include the money for services which local councils provide to other schools, known as the “local authority central services equivalent grant”.

It was this which was worked out based on old spending data which resulted in overpayments. The analysis suggests that in 74 boroughs in 2010/11 overfunding was worth more than £100,000 for an average 1,000 pupil secondary school, while in 28 boroughs it was more than £200,000 and in 10 it was more than £300,000.

A Department of Education spokesman added: “The Government has been very clear that the current system is flawed.”