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The academy chiefs of the future? Largely white and very male

If the future of England’s schools is to become part of larger academy chains, then the control of that future looks, at present, as though it will be largely white and very male.

An Education Guardian analysis of the boards of England’s 10 largest chains, as listed on their websites, shows that three-quarters (81 out of 110) of these academy trustees are men, with some organisations overwhelmingly skewed towards male directors.

England’s largest chain, the Academies Enterprise Trust, lists eight directors, all of whom seem to be white males. The trust said: “We are taking steps to increase the diversity of our board of trustees. We hope to make an announcement about new appointments in the near future.”

Ark Schools, one of the most successful chains, lists a single woman, Lucy Heller, on its eight-strong, all-white board, although its management team of six includes three women. A spokesman said 24 of the chain’s 34 schools were led by women, and 22 of its individual school governing bodies had a female chair. He added that research had shown there were only 15 black male heads in England, but two were running Ark schools.

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