Thanks to Leonie Haimson for sending along this paper. The “academy” concept began under a Conservative government that believed private enterprise was infinitely wiser than public anything. Corporations and wealthy individuals were encouraged to “buy” control of schools by putting up a large sum. Things seem to going swimmingly for the idea. This is a small excerpt. When I was part of the Koret Task Force at the rightwing Hoover Institution, we journeyed to England as a group to learn about this example of privatization in action.

The paper contains a valuable review of “related party transactions,” that is, financial self-dealing in the private entities that receive public funding in the U.S. and Great Britain.


Charter Schools, Academy Schools, and Related-Party Transactions: Same Scams, Different Countries

Preston C. Green III and Chelsea E. Connery


Academies were first introduced in 2000 as the City Academy Program. 34 City academies were to

replace locally run schools in urban areas that were deemed to be failing by the school inspection

body Ofsted, or that were underachieving. The Education Act 2002 permitted academies to open

outside of urban areas.


Eight years later, Parliament enacted the Academies Act 2010. This statute extended the academy

option, until then limited to struggling schools, to include successful schools at both the primary

and secondary levels. The government financed conversion costs and provided considerable

financial incentives to encourage schools to convert. The number of academies increased

dramatically as a result of these policy changes. In 2010, there were 203 academies throughout

England, all of them serving secondary schools with high proportions of disadvantaged students.40

As of September 2018, there were 8,177 academies, constituting 36% of England’s state funded

schools. About 66% of England’s secondary schools and 30% of its primary schools have achieved

academy status.