Monday, 12 September 2011


Today, 3rd July 2011, The Mail on Sunday has yet again incorrectly reported on matters relating to the National Enterprise Academy. The inaccuracies would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that readers are being mislead by reporting that is a distortion of the truth. 
The article reports that our Manchester Campus is closing for financial reasons, that the NEA has lost its North-West England base and that it will be left with about 70 students at Amersham. These claims are false.

The fact is that the Manchester campus has always been an interim home for the National Enterprise Academy in the North West and, indeed, the two-year lease on the current premises at One Central Park comes to a natural end on 31 July, 2011.

In anticipation of this the Academy had been actively seeking a suitable new location in the region for several months. This process was completed last month and that new home can been found at Oldham College, just a very short distance from our current location, which provides a wide range of benefits that will improve the facilities and resources available to our students. All Students who have applied, been accepted or waiting for confirmation for courses from September 2011 were informed last week that the North West Hub of our Academy is to be relocated to Oldham College and that we are looking forward to welcoming them in September.

In turn, the allegation that the NEA will be left with a single campus and 70 students is again false. This autumn 14 new colleges will begin Peter Jones' Enterprise Academy courses around the UK as part of a major expansion of our activities.

The Mail on Sunday's inaccurate and misleading reporting will not deter our work in the real world of preparing a new generation of enterprising young people to help this country in the serious task of economic recovery.

DATE: 19 June 2011
Statement From The Board & Trustees of The Peter Jones Foundation in response to Mail on Sunday story.
Today the Trustees of the Peter Jones Foundation and Peter Jones CBE personally have been the subject of an unfounded and defamatory attack in the press.

This has come from an individual with whom the Foundation has worked closely in his capacity as an adviser, board observer and then trustee for more than a year. He was fully aware of the affairs, workings, successes and issues of the NEA so the Trustees find it strange that he only raised his concerns a day after his departure.

The Trustees of the Peter Jones Foundation would like to say in reference to him that it is very easy to criticise, much harder to do something positive in life, but we are collectively determined to remain focused on the vision of our founder Peter Jones which is to help young people have the chance of making their own dreams a reality. This is a vision for which Peter Jones receives no personal gain other than contentment in seeing many young people achieve their goals.

The report in the Mail on Sunday today (June 19, 2011) is a misrepresentation of Peter Jones personally and the activities of the charitable foundation that was launched in 2005 with the express ambition of helping young people in the UK realise their full potential.

The story is based on false and defamatory allegations that misstate the real facts and make a number of unfounded claims. Legal proceedings are being reviewed.

Turning to the allegations themselves, you will see from our comments they have little or no substance at all and are based on a number of falsehoods.

Allegations that the NEA is about to run out of money is false. It is false that the NEA has no reserves. It is false that cash flow will be "negative soon". It is false that half the rent of Peter Jones' corporate Head Office (his Head office is in Marlow) is paid for by the Foundation. It is false that the personal cash contributions to be made by Peter Jones haven't materialised. We could go on, but we believe the position is quite clear - the article is inaccurate and misleading.

In response to the specific allegations made by the Mail on Sunday, the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, said:

"Out of our duty of care to the tax-payer, BIS asked the Skills Funding Agency to carry out a formal investigation into allegations made about its public funding of the National Enterprise Academy. The SFA has now completed its investigation and found no evidence to substantiate these allegations."

The National Enterprise Academy is a new venture, only 21 months into its operation, since launching formally as a National Skills Academy in September 2009. 

Since its launch hundreds of students have benefited from being part of the National Enterprise Academy including Wasim Azhar who is quoted in the article saying that his time at the NEA had given him a lot of confidence. Other students from the Academy have won national awards for their entrepreneurial ability and flair.

We are committed to delivering on the original business plan and our forecast target for student intake will be achieved. We are intent on building a highly successful national organisation that helps thousands of young people achieve their ambitions. 

We are committed to the encouragement and support of Enterprise and no one individual or organisation will detract us from delivering that commitment.

The Board & Trustees of The Peter Jones Foundation