More than half of the major operators of the government’s flagship academies programme have sounded the alarm over school funding, heaping further pressure on Theresa May to ease the squeeze on public spending.
An Observer investigation into the Conservatives’ treasured education initiative found that six out of the top 10 academy trusts, which operate hundreds of schools across England, have raised warnings over pressures on pay, staffing levels, building maintenance and mounting deficits.
The revelation will worry Tory MPs, many of whom blame pressures on school budgets for the party’s disastrous election result last year.
It comes with the prime minister already under intense pressure over NHS funding and facing internal criticism over a lack of focus on domestic issues.
An analysis of the most recent accounts of leading multi-academy trusts reveals that eight of the top 13 largest groups have issued warnings. One said that funding was failing to keep pace with costs and inflation, creating risks of “unsustainable deficits” and staff cuts.
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One said that funding was failing to keep pace with costs and inflation, creating risks of “unsustainable deficits” and staff cuts.