Questions Over AET’s ‘Deficit’ Claims At Sandown Bay Academy


The Trust that runs Sandown Bay Academy says the school has faced an “overspend and years of deficits”. But Isle of Wight Radio has seen documents that appear to show that Sandown Bay Academy’s accounts were actually in the black at the end of 2016.

According to figures, apparently from an Academies Enterprise Trust financial report, between 2012 and 2016 Sandown Bay Academy faced a dramatic cut in its income.

It dropped from just over £11.1 million at the end of 2012, to just under £8.2 million at the end of 2016. In other words, money coming into the school fell by around £2.9 million in five financial years. 

In a statement released last week, AET claimed its income had fallen by around £5 million in that period. 

AET’s statement went on to say that,

“3 of the last 5 years have seen deficits ranging from £200,000 to £400,000 per annum. [sic]”

But Isle of Wight Radio has seen figures that suggest there has not been a deficit in the last three years.

According to a ‘statement of accounts’, in 2014 the school was listed as having £440,000. In 2015, it had £604,000 and in 2016, the end of year statement showed £375,000.

According to AET’s own paperwork, available from Companies House, Sandown Bay Academy was not listed among its academies in deficit.


So why is it important to know the difference between deficit and money left over?

The Academies Enterprise Trust says deficit is one of the main reasons why it wants to merge Ryde and Sandown Bay Academies. It says,

“Looking forward, even if we saved yet another £1.6m over the next 2 years (which would have to include £1.2m in staff costs and yet another round of potential job cuts of around 25 staff), we would still be in deficit in 3 years’ time, and unviable.”

AET insists that no decisions have been made and a thorough consultation will be carried out.

Five years, three heads

Sandown Bay Academy was formed in 2011, when the Isle of Wight’s primary, middle and high schools (3-tier) system was replaced by a 2-tier one, of primary and secondary schools – replacing Sandown High School.

The Academies Enterprise Trust beat bidders Innovative Schools and East Wight Educational Trust to win Sandown Bay as part of its nationwide portfolio. It runs it alongside what is now known as Ryde Academy.

Since September 2012, the school has seen three head teachers. Its most recent, Claire Charlemagne, announced her plans to leave at the end of the summer term.

Isle of Wight Radio has asked AET for a comment.