Toby Young clings on to taxpayer-funded free schools role

Mar 22, 2018 by

Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash

DfE reluctantly reappoints New Schools Network due to absence of other applicants

Toby Young has clung on to his taxpayer-funded post running a free schools advisory service, despite his controversial views on women and genetics, but only after there were no other applicants.

Sources within the Department for Education (DfE) say ministers have reluctantly decided to reappoint the New Schools Network (NSN) – the organisation headed by Young in his £90,000-a-year role as its chief executive – to a contract to support applicants wanting to open free schools.

But the decision provoked debate within the DfE, following the controversy that erupted after Young’s appointment as a director of the new universities regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), at the start of the year and the public spotlight placed on his string of controversial and sexist remarks.

Young is likely to suffer a pay cut, with the DfE deciding to cut future grants for the NSN and refusing to support its attempts to expand into other areas, such as encouraging schools to convert to academies.

The tender for the grant was issued by the DfE last year, and closed on 19 January. Despite informal attempts by the DfE to encourage other organisations to enter, Young’s organisation remained the only complete bidder.

When it became clear that the NSN – which relies almost entirely on the DfE’s funding – was the only applicant, officials considered a range of policy options, including not fulfilling the tender.

When contacted on Thursday the DfE declined to comment.

The service contract was last awarded to Young’s organisation in 2014, when it was worth around £3m. But the sharp scaling back in new free school applications and openings has meant that the DfE is likely to reduce funding for the support service, as demand has dried up.

Source: Toby Young clings on to taxpayer-funded free schools role | Education | The Guardian

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