Following the U.S. charter school model, a British charity funded by high-risk hedge funds plans to convert low-performing public schools in London and other cities into K-12 academies. The Guardian explains:
Academies are publicly funded independent schools which provide free education for pupils of all abilities. Teaching unions are highly sceptical about the programme, many seeing it as a form of privatisation of state schools. Ministers set up the initiative in an attempt to transform “failing” secondary schools in the most deprived urban areas.
In exchange for up to £2m, private sponsors have a big say in the running of an academy, including setting the school’s ethos and appointing its governors.
The government funds the rest of the costs for setting up an academy – typically reaching £25m. But they are regarded as “independent” schools standing outside the rest of the state system.
Britain’s school system is much more diverse than in the U.S.