This is a guest post by Ismet Inonu
A Turkish group called ‘Mentora Academies Trust’ which has no website and whose Chairman speaks no English, has declared it will receive £6-7 million pounds from the British government to run three schools in Oxfordshire on 500 acres of land. Enver Yucel, Chairman of the Turkey-based group, has claimed the schools will have 1500 pupils and he will receive £6000 per pupil. He also claimed he will run the English schools ‘better than the English’ and pupils from Turkey will be able to attend these schools to gain English Diplomas. According to Mr Yucel, the British government has approved his group’s proposals.
The Local Schools Network (LSN) recently questioned how a Trust which had only been running for six weeks could make it onto DfE’s approved Academies sponsor list. Neither ‘Mentora Academies Trust’ nor its sponsor the ‘BAU Foundation’ have a website, or any track record of running schools in the UK. Janet Downs of LSN writes:
“As sponsorship of Academies seems to be in the gift of the DfE, how can schools, parents, pupils and taxpayers trust the DfE’s recommendations?…Perhaps these are questions for the Education Select Committee”.
“According to the DfE, ‘BAU Foundation Mentora’ “currently operates” in London and the South East. But it’s only been operating a few weeks, there are no websites and it operates from Bristol. It’s unclear, then, what “currently operates” actually means”.
One would have thought that groups approved to run schools would at least be required to have a footprint in the UK (no matter how small). Throwing millions of pounds at an organisation with no track record is no way to improve the British education system; it’s a recipe for disaster!
We will be investigating further and asking some serious questions. Taxpayers have a right to know where their money is being spent and what value they are getting for it, especially in these times of austerity.
Watch this space!