Universities keen to sponsor academies

Documents provided to the Guardian have revealed that some of the country's leading universities have been holding private talks with the government over plans to sponsor schools in the controversial academies programme.

Two universities have already agreed to sponsor academies, while four others are in discussions with the government. The universities will contribute their own funds towards the cost of the academies.

The involvement of universities could serve to placate some of the critics of academies who say businesses and religious groups are being given too much power over the schools.

Under the scheme, private individuals and businesses pay up to £2m in initial sponsorship and gain a large degree of control over a school's curriculum, staffing and ethos. As part of the deal, the government provides up to £25m in funding for the school, a higher than usual sum for ordinary schools.

Universities in move to sponsor academies (The Guardian, 5 December 2005)

Document: UCL keen to sponsor academy in Camden (The Guardian, 5 December 2005)