We must call academy heads to account

18th May 2012 at 01:00

Last week, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee rightly raised concerns about heads of academy schools receiving "very high salaries" and trustees paying themselves five-figure expenses. There has already been a financial scandal involving the chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies in Lincoln.

Anyone can become an academy sponsor - they just have to get the approval of the education secretary. But the Leveson Inquiry has shown the dangers of government departments getting too close to the businesses they are supposed to oversee.

Recently there have been calls for "fit and proper person" tests to be applied to ownership of newspapers and football clubs in the wake of financial improprieties - is running our schools any less important?

The ATL education union has written to Michael Gove, calling for an independent body to vet academy sponsors and arguing that the Education Funding Agency has neither the resources nor the expertise to keep a check on 2,000 academies.

Mary Bousted, General secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

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