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Thursday, 10 March 2016 UK Education News
Top executives at some of England's biggest academy chains are paid huge salaries while pupils are left to get poor results, Ofsted says.
Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw highlighted serious weaknesses at seven multi-academy trusts in a hard-hitting letter to the education secretary.
He said the trusts were sitting on millions of pounds that should be used to raise standards.
David Cameron has said he wants to move fully to an academy system.
This would mean no schools in England would be run through local authorities, as many still are now.
In the letter to Nicky Morgan, Sir Michael said problems at these multi-academy trusts often replicated those of the worst local councils, and were leading to poor results for too many pupils, particularly disadvantaged ones.
He said: "Given these worrying findings about the performance of disadvantaged pupils and the lack of leadership capacity and strategic oversight by trustees, salary levels for the chief executives of some of these MATs do not appear to be commensurate with the level of performance of their trusts or constituent academies.
"The average pay of the chief executives in these seven trusts is higher than the prime minister's salary, with one chief executive's salary reaching £225,000.
"This poor use of public money is compounded by some trusts holding very large cash reserves that are not being spent on raising standards.
"For example, at the end of August 2015, these seven trusts had total cash in the bank of £111m.
"Furthermore, some of these trusts are spending money on expensive consultants or advisers to compensate for deficits in leadership. Put together, these seven trusts spent at least £8.5m on education consultancy in 2014-15 alone."
The Department for Education is yet to comment on the letter.