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Exclusive: Major academy chain cuts teachers by 13 per cent and spends more than £1m on staff pay-offs

Delta Academy Trust took the steps as part of drive 'to ensure sustainability', its latest accounts show

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Delta Academy Trust took the steps as part of drive 'to ensure sustainability', its latest accounts show

One of the country’s biggest academy chains slashed its wage bill by more than 10 per cent and spent £1.2 million on staff pay-offs last year. 

Delta Academy Trust, previously known as the School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA), was on a drive to reduce its deficit and “ensure sustainability”, according to its latest financial accounts.

The trust, which runs 44 academies across Yorkshire and the Humber, spent £1.2 million on "staff restructuring" – comprising redundancy and severance payments – in 2016-17, up from £343,000 in 2015-16.

Most – £890,000 – of the restructuring costs in 2016-17 went on redundancy pay, up from £263,000 the year before.

Severance payments amounted to £380,000, an increase from the £79,000 spent in 2015-16. The biggest amount was handed to one unnamed individual who received £43,000.

Academy chain improvement

The accounts state: “Delta Academies Trust at 31 August 2017 had an in-year deficit of £49,000, this was as expected.

“However, to ensure the trust moves towards a surplus in 2017-18, further restructures were undertaken during the year, to ensure not only the curriculum offer was fit for purpose, but also to ensure sustainability.”

The deficit was a year-on-year improvement for Delta, which ended the previous financial year with a £3.1 million deficit, before its current chief executive officer Paul Tarn – previously deputy chief executive at the Outwood Grange Academies Trust – took over in 2016.

Delta, which runs 44 academies, had its wage bill fall by 11 per cent in 2016-17, to £61.6 million – down from £69.4 million in 2015-16.

The number of full-time equivalent teachers dropped by 13 per cent – from 1,181 to 1,021. Administration and support staff decreased by a similar proportion, from 1,246 to 1,085.

Increased costs

But Delta’s management and support team grew, from 60 to 78 full-time equivalents.

Mr Tarn received a salary of between £180,000 and £185,000 – slightly less than his predecessor Sir Paul Edwards, who was paid £185,000 to £190,000.

One academy left the trust during the period covered by the accounts, in December 2016.

The accounts do not specifically state the cost of the trust’s rebrand, but “marketing and advertising” costs rose from £84,000 to £130,000.

Delta has been named as the Department for Education’s preferred sponsor to take over four academies run by the failed Wakefield City Academies Trust.

The academy trust was contacted for comment.

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