An multi-academy trust chief executive has said that poor school funding means that generating income for her trust is as important a part of her role as ensuring pupils get a high-quality education.
The comments from Debbie Clinton, who leads the Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) of 22 schools, come a month after the Association of School and College Leaders said schools need an extra £5.7 billion.
Ms Clinton today told the Schools and Academies Show in London that ATT has two senior figures who are focused on corporate finance.
She said their roles include making sure the trust follows financial regulations, but “most importantly, though, that they have an income-generation dimension”.
She said they “need to focus on those wider income generation [opportunities] that we all know exist but too often don’t spend enough time on”.
Following her presentation, Ms Clinton was asked to give the audience more information about the opportunities to increase the amount of money coming into the trust.
She said: “The matter of income generation: I regard that as probably as important a role for me as making sure that the education we deliver for our children is the best possible education that we can deliver.
“The brutal fact is that – and there’s no point wittering on about this – the quantum in the system at the moment is insufficient; that’s just a fact. But try working for any public sector [organisation] currently and you’ll hear the same drums being beaten.
“My response to that is: OK, I’ll carry on having a whinge with the secretary of state and whoever I can get my hands on at the DfE, I’ll do that lobbying, of course I will – that’s my job.
"But in the meantime, I need to make sure that I can, hand on heart, say to every single taxpayer – bearing in mind that I’m one of them – that we are spending public money as best we possibly can.
“Therefore, our income-generation strategy – ethically driven, I must add and stress – is all about looking at every single opportunity we could possibly think of to further maximise what we are doing.
“That’s a broad statement, but there is a whole strategy being written at the moment around the sources from which we can gain additional income.”