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Ministers have handed out almost £17 million in little-known grants to entice academy trusts to support schools at risk of “imminent failure”, with bigger MATs most likely to benefit.

Figures obtained by Schools Week show 201 of 242 applications (80 per cent) for the “emergency school improvement fund” were approved between April 2018 and April last year.

A total of £16.6 million was released to support maintained schools at risk of “unexpected or imminent failure”.

David Bagley, the chief executive of DRB Schools and Academies Services, said the emergency grant acted as an “incentive” for trusts to expand. 

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