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Jul 6, 2010
Does anyone on here have some knowledge on Academy school's? I ask because in a certain Academies case I find the whole set-up a bit worrying.

In question for me is The Basildon Academies. I have a daughter at the lower site since September 2011 and my dealings with it have led me to go as far as getting my MP involved, he too feels that something isn't right.

A bit of background:-

The Basildon Academies opened in 2009 and were a complete disaster. The whole thing was pretty much a fiasco for two years until Dr. Rory Fox took over in September 2011, although he had been at the academy since April 2011. On taking over he installed zero tolerance on matters of uniform, behaviour, equipment & attendance, a google search of him will show just how hard-line he was. This inevitably led to confrontation with parents when their little treasures could no longer get their own way, some handled that well, some were embarrassing if you know what I mean. I met with Dr. Fox on a couple of occasions over what I felt was wholly inappropriate discipline and dared to question that he may find better ways of achieving better standards. However I found the man rude, arrogant and somewhat immature for the position he held, which led me to look further into the academy, i.e. the governors and sponsors, and this is where it gets a bit worrying.

As I understand it an Academy is usually run by a trust & has a sponsor. For BA the sponsor is Martin Finegold, a US hedge fund manager who heads The Basildon Academy Trust. Also on the Trust I believe is his son, but the amount of information in the public domain is next to nothing. The chair of governors is a Les Livermore, previously chair of governors at the site which is now the Upper Academy. Mr. Livermore is also the CEO of the Academies, appointed by the trust, on a salary of 63K p.a. When questioned he didn't feel it was a conflict of interest. I also read that on becoming an Academy, the freehold for the land they occupy can be transferred to the new Trust. I may be putting 2 & 2 together here but a lot of land & a 'banker' maybe things are not being done for the right reasons, but again public information is scarce. I and Stephen Metcalfe have both requested transparency on all matters of sponsorship, governors etc but stony silence, which doesn't help alleviate my thinking that there's more to it than meets the eye.

There's been a change of principle in the meantime, Fox quit after disagreements with the governors, and an interim head is currently in place, rumoured to be on 220K p.a., but I was wondering if anyone has a deeper knowledge of the subject because it seems to me that very few of the rules/regulations/laws that apply to traditional state school's apply to academies.