Academies Enterprise Trust
Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) is the largest multi-sponsor of state-funded, independent academy schools in the UK.
Formed in September 2008, AET currently runs 77 schools.
Support for online education
AET's 'education vision' includes many references to online learning:' ICT will be as available as electricity and seen as another utility, which will facilitate learning in different contexts; personalised learning will be a reality with a wide ranging curriculum... We will have full service schools built around technology.'
'Our work in e-Learning is cutting edge with thousands of pages of content and lesson plans is now available to other schools and Academies via our Personalised Learning Platform eZeschools. Through the dedication of our staff we have made personalised learning a reality and it is our intention to make all resources available to our partner Academies via the Academies Enterprise Trust.'
AET currently provides its students with access to online learning materials and computers on a 3:4 ratio.
- Champollion (2013-15)
Privatisation by stealth
In 2014 it was reported that AET was seeking to outsource all non-teaching posts in its schools, from librarians to caretakers, to a for-profit organisation. It selected PricewaterhouseCoopers as a partner in the plan. AET wants to set up a limited liability partnership with PwC, which would be paid up to £400m of taxpayers' money over 10 years for its role, although it added that [[PricewaterhouseCoopers][ had agreed to work with it at no cost to help it review its services. In November 2014 AET ditched its plans, which needed approval from the secretary of state, and was seeking an “internal solution” instead.
Outsourcing to trustees and executives
In 2013, AET was discovered to have paid nearly £500,000 over three years into the private business interests of its trustees and executives. The payments were for services ranging from project management to HR consultancy, according to the academy chain's company accounts.
AET has been criticised for its poor performance in managing schools. In a statement in 2013, the Department for Education said it was concerned about AET's performance. "DfE representatives have visited AET academies that are not making the necessary improvements," it said. In March 2013, the department said it was barring AET from taking over more schools because of concerns that its rapid expansion was hitting standards.
- Ian Comfort, CEO
- Rupert Gather, Chair; also Chairman of InvestUK, which is an independent corporate finance firm
- Ian Foster, Vice Chair; worked for 37 years in the motor industry
- Ricky Ricketts; also director of BT responsible for the education sector
- Lynn Aitchison
- Joan Deslandes
- Trevor Fulcher
- Father Adam Gaunt
- Jerry Glazier
- Stuart Green
- Keith Lomax
former board members
- David Hoare; was drafted in to rescue AETat the start of 2014, after the academy chain was lambasted for poor standards and lavish expenses claims. Hoare is current chair of the school standards regulator, Ofsted (appointed July 2014); Hoare is ex-Bain & Company. Educated at Marlborough College, he is a Stanford alumni.
- Education Vision, AET, undated, accessed August 2014
- Daniel Boffey,Academy chain accused of 'privatisation by stealth' over plan to outsource jobs, Guardian, 20 September 2014
- Daniel Boffey,Academy chain under fire following revelation of payments made to bosses, Guardian, 20 July 2013