Press release

Michael Gove welcomes commitment from Barclays to academies and Free Schools

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Education Secretary Michael Gove today welcomed a commitment from Barclays to offer their expertise and support to schools across England.

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Barclays teams up with academies and Free Schools

In particular, Barclays will target much of its support at academies, Free Schools, University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and Studio Schools. These independent, state-funded schools are free from local authority control, making external expertise on issues like finance and HR invaluable.

Speaking at Westminster Academy, Michael Gove also invited other firms to look at ways of making serious commitments to schools.

Under the scheme, Barclays will:

  • encourage hundreds of senior staff members with transferable business skills to sit on the governing bodies of state-funded schools - including academies and Free Schools;
  • provide local access to free financial advice to help academies and Free Schools to manage their new financial duties;
  • offer structured work experience opportunities at Barclays branches and offices to pupils from academies and Free Schools;
  • widen the Barclays Money Skills programme, which helps young people build the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to manage money more effectively;
  • provide free online access for school staff to ‘self-service’ functional and business skills training materials;
  • provide free banking to new Free Schools and academies, helping them get off the ground; and
  • work with the New Schools Network, Baker Dearing Trust and Studio Schools Trust with the aim of offering funding of £5,000, on average, to selected Free School, UTC and Studio School groups in the pre-application stage.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

I’m delighted that Barclays has read the new educational landscape so clearly and decided to make a real difference. Thanks to this comprehensive and generous package, students, teachers and governors will benefit enormously.

Since the sixteenth century, when the first City livery companies opened schools, we have seen huge benefits when schools and businesses work together. I want a new generation of businesses to do the same in our changing schools system.

Our reforms to give schools more independence have created great opportunities for businesses and charities to make a lasting commitment to help.

Antony Jenkins, Chief Executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said:

Barclays is supporting Free Schools and academies because we want to boost financial skills for young people. By providing financial awareness training and valuable work experience we can help young people to contribute to and share in future prosperity.

We can also make a positive impact to these schools by encouraging our employees to serve as governors, and by lending our banking expertise to school boards.

The academies programme has expanded rapidly in the last 18 months. In July 2010 the Academies Act made it possible for any good school to apply to become an academy. Since then more than 1500 have applied, with more than 1000 already open. Around 45 per cent of all secondary schools are now academies or are in the process of opening as academies.

24 Free Schools opened in September 2011. A further 71 Free Schools, including special schools and alternative provision schools, are due to open from September 2012 onwards. The offer also covers Studio Schools and UTCs, of which eight are already open and 29 are currently in the pipeline.

The website with full details of the Barclays package, including the options available and how to apply, goes live today. Schools that want to participate in some or all of these proposals should visit the Barclays academies and Free Schools website.

Notes to editors

  1. For further information, please contact:
    • Department for Education: 020 7783 8300
    • Barclays: Will Bowen, 020 3134 7744
  2. About Barclays:

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 145,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

Barclays Money Skills is a programme to help young people to build the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to manage their money more effectively. It is investing £15 million in this industry leading initiative to help us reach one million people by 2012. The programme tackles topics such as opening a bank account; budgeting, saving and spending; and gives practical guidance on what to do when something goes wrong. For further information, visit the Barclays Money Skills website.

For further information, visit the Barclays website.

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Published 18 January 2012