Honours among fiefs

20th January 2006 at 00:00
What a fantastic deal: spend pound;2 million sponsoring an academy and in return you name it, influence its running, and get a knighthood on the side. At least, that is what London head and academy adviser Des Smith told an undercover reporter.

He even gave a tariff: a Lordship for five academies (a snip at 10 million quid); up to a Sir for anything less. Maybe he was misquoted or overselling his influence. But is anyone surprised by the story? Britons know how to read honours lists: the rich often get something for something. So: is pound;2m per OBE a good deal for the taxpayer? Since the state provides pound;25m per school, hands over its ethos to the sponsor, and asserts that sponsors take part out of altruism, possibly not.

Mr Smith deserves an honour for honesty. An OBE, standing for "Oh, bloody 'ell."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today