Education ministers have been prompted to investigate following failed trusts leaving students stuck in limbo
Calls for the government to review the multi-academy trust policies have abounded following the revelation that over 40,000 children are receiving their educations in “zombie” schools during the wait to transfer to a different academy chain.
Figures obtained by the Department of Education reveal that over 60 academy schools await new sponsors following their abandonment or removal from the trusts that originally managed them. The total number of schools, 64, is estimated to contain over 40,000 pupils.
The UK government encouraged academies in joining trusts of multi-academy, promoting the trusts as support for the schools that are no longer under the control of local authorities, despite some of the trusts receiving criticism of financial mismanagement and poor oversight.
Zombie-schools contain pupils not receiving deserved standards of education
Approximately 50% of the schools await transfer from two different chains, with the DfE stating that it had undertaken the process to secure new chains for academies under both of the trusts.
However, until new trusts are found these schools are doomed to remain trapped in limbo, and unable to plan in the long-term, conduct hiring for new members of permanent staff, or arrange salary increases.
The schools also lose the option to go under the control of a local authority, with the government struggling to discover chains who are able and willing to undertake the responsibility of the schools, many schools in precarious financial situations.
The education secretary of the Labour party, Angela Rayner, stated that the “fragmented” system of education as implemented by the Tories has resulted in the dramatic rise of the creation of so-called “zombie” schools.
Rayner added that the schools, stuck between an “unhelpful” government and a chain of academies reluctant to take responsibility for them, contain students not receiving the quality of education that they deserve.