One of new Education Minister John Nash's companies was repeatedly criticised by Ofsted, with inspectors highlighting inadequate standards and poor learning resources.
Nash, a substantial Tory donor, was appointed Education Minister by Michael Gove in January.
The Department's official announcement said that Nash came from "30 years in venture capital," but did not name his company, Sovereign Capital.
Nash made his fortune at Sovereign Capital and up until he became a minister was a partner of the firm.
Sovereign Capital specialises in buying firms chasing public contracts, with a focus on education and training.
Sovereign's website says: "Our portfolio covers the spectrum from primary schools through to higher education and training providers."
Some of these firms are nothing to boast about.
Sovereign highlights its ownership of training firm ESG on its website, which the company bought and began expanding in 2004.
ESG's income comes almost entirely from government schemes for the unemployed.
These schemes were inspected by Ofsted under the last Labour government. ESG was inspected five times between 2007 and 2009 and never received a single "good" mark. Inspectors marked the firm "adequate" overall - an Ofsted grade since reclassified as "requires improvement."
Reading through all the Ofsted reports on Nash's firm shows many of the judgements on the most important standards were damning.
Inspectors found "achievement and standards are inadequate," with a "low rate for job outcomes" (Liverpool), "Job entry rates are low," "Insufficiently responsive jobsearch," "Slow progress in implementing quality assurance arrangements" (Tyneside), "Low rate of progression into jobs by participants," "Insufficient work placements for participants" (north-east London), "Low rate of job outcomes," "Insufficient resources in some centres" (Cambridgeshire), "Low job outcomes," "Some poor learning resources" (Yorkshire).
This poor performance did not stop Nash's firm winning a £69 million contract to run Iain Duncan Smith's Work Programme in the Midlands last year.
Duncan Smith stopped Ofsted inspecting employment schemes, so ESG did not face any more tough inspections.
The firm stumbled anyway, failing to meet a 5.5 per cent minimum target for getting people into jobs.
After criticism about the Tory donor's firm winning government contracts, Sovereign Capital claimed it had sold ESG.
However, documents I obtained from Companies House show this claim was exaggerated - Sovereign still owns around 20 per cent of the poorly performing ESG.
Other firms that were in Nash's portfolio were criticised by inspectors.
Last year Sovereign bought the Greenwich School of Management, a private higher education college offering two-year business and tourism degrees.
Under Tory Universities Minister David Willetts, Greenwich's business boomed. Private colleges got more funding from state-backed student loans, with Greenwich getting £22.6m a year. This was almost a quarter of the total going to private universities.
But performance is poor. When inspectors visited last July they found the college wanting on two out of three main criteria.
Inspectors said that student learning opportunities "do not meet UK expectations" and "requires improvement to meet UK expectations."
It's clear that Gove appointed Nash to help get profit-making firms into school management.
Currently private firms can only run Gove's free schools. Giving more schools to companies is a Tory dream, but Nash's own business history shows how bad the results can be.
Like the Morning Star's Jeff Sawtell, I think Quentin Tarantino's anti-slavery spaghetti western Django is a joy to watch.
It treats the evil institution with all the subtlety of a Krazy Kartoon - and is all the better for it.
There should be dignified and serious films about this historic crime, but this wild, comic fantasy works too.
Django plays fast and loose with history and has all the realism of Sergio Leone but still shows some of the meaning of slavery.
As well as the obvious depictions of the violence and human corruption of the gallant south, I found the dialogue about the legality - the paperwork of slavery - revealing. Django swerves from action to comedy like a funfair ride bashing against the boundaries of good taste, but the film's heart feels like it is in the right place.
I don't want to give away any spoilers, but the discussion of appropriate clothing among proto-KKK "night riders" is one of the funniest film moments this year.
In one stand-out scene slave-owner Leonardo DiCaprio asks: "Why don't they kill us?" - why don't the slaves rise up?
Tarantino offers some answers. The slaveowner, in suitably lunatic fashion, believes the answer lies in phrenology, that black people are subservient because they have different bumps in their head.
Samuel L Jackson's impressive act-within-an-act, playing an apparently servile but actually viciously scheming "house slave," gives another answer.
Any system of control requires some collaborators as well as some violence.
Jamie Foxx's Django gives the final answer - by killing almost everybody in a Technicolor shoot 'em up slo-mo festival of fake blood.
While Django isn't historically accurate, there is some truth in all these answers.
Exploiters really do persuade themselves of their own innate superiority.
There really was some collaboration amid the violence - sometimes this meant people doing what they could to survive.
But finally, there were revolts of the most heroic kind.
I was a US history student years ago, grappling with rubbish books about slave passivity or even the paternalism of the slaveowners.
Thankfully, an old book by US communist Herbert Aptheker cut through the fog.
His 1943 American Negro Slave Revolts described the great many times slaves tried to rise up - the rebellions planned by Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey or Gabriel Prosser. Or the individual runaways and murders. Or the extraordinary "Maroon" communities, where runaway slaves created whole societies living free in the countryside.
In Florida they allied with Native Americans forming the "Black Seminole" communities.
And beyond that, slaves and former slaves joined with abolitionists to run the secret escape routes from the south to northern freedom known as the "underground railway."
Former slaves also gave the most powerful leadership to the abolition movement with admirable characters like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
In a weird way, Foxx's performance in this cheesy film is a tribute to those people.
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