Schools taking part in the government’s flagship academies programme are being overpaid by more than £120m this academic year owing to errors by the Department for Education, an investigation by the Financial Times has revealed.
The majority of the overspend will be clawed back from local authorities, stoking concerns that schools participating in the converter academies scheme are being favoured over other state schools.
Currently seen as the government’s most visible public policy success, if local authority schools opt to become an academy, they are funded directly by the DfE rather than via local authorities. They gain autonomy over pay and curriculum, but are supposed to receive equivalent funding.
However, analysis of DfE data reveals that 90 per cent of England’s 1,421 converter academy schools are being overpaid, with the bulk of the errors coming from schools which converted in the previous academic year.